Protecting Assets and Child Custody in the Face of Deportation - 2017 Version

Protecting Assets and Child Custody in the Face of Deportation

As millions of immigrant families face fear and uncertainty, Appleseed has updated our 2012 manual, “Protecting Assets and Child Custody in the Face of Deportation.”

This one-of-a-kind resource is designed for immigrants and those who work with them; the host of attorneys, nurses, social workers, religious workers who are stepping up in challenging times. Appleseed’s Manual will help families develop plans in advance to deal with critical financial and family issues in the event of deportation, arrest and other family emergencies.

Because times are so uncertain, and the demand for these updates is growing, we are publishing each chapter as we draft it. We will always post the most current version of each right here on our website and we’ve included the “version date” in the footer of the PDF file.

Your support during this critical time will help us to translate, publish and distribute this manual and related resources to those who need it the most. If you find these tools valuable, consider making a donation using the link at the top right corner of this page.

We are grateful for your interest, and for everything you do to help immigrants and refugees. Please let us know if there are other topics you’d like to see covered.

Protecting Assets and Child Custody in the Face of Deportation - FULL MANUAL (PDF)

We’re pleased to launch our 2017 version of this manual, now updated with new chapters and more current resources and available here in PDF format for free download. The chapters listed below will soon be updated to reflect our most recent edits and help you get to the content that your’e looking for. Stay tuned – we will post a Spanish version shortly and plan to release in several other languages. While much of this content is written for advocates and helpers, we will also be posting documents tailored more specifically to the needs of individuals and families affected.

We wish to thank our generous and skilled collaborators and contributors on this project.

Videos en Español

"Protecting Assets" our original 2012 deportation manual - SPANISH VERSION - PDF

We’ll release Spanish translations of our new chapters and content shortly, but in the meantime, find our 2012 version here.

1. Child Custody - DOWNLOAD PDF

This section outlines the basic custody issues facing immigrant parents and offers guidance on protecting parental rights before, during and after deportation.

2. Assets and Benefits of Minor Children - DOWNLOAD PDF

This section highlights certain issues related to the protection of assets for the benefits of a citizen child (or children) and provides general guidance including: personal property, bank accounts, credit cards, child support, education savings plans, government benefits and more.

3. Ensuring Safety in Public Schools - DOWNLOAD PDF

Immigrant parents and children are worried that public schools may reveal their legal status or share records with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. This section provides guidance to help parents safeguard their privacy, to prevent bullying or harassment and to help school officials to recognize and address concerns.

4. Psychological Aspects of Deportation and Child Custody - DOWNLOAD PDF

Family is the building block of a healthy society and the environment where children develop their sense of security and belonging. Many immigrants came to the U.S. to give their children a better life and future than the one they had in their homeland. Deportation shatters that dream and all they managed to create during their time in the U.S. This is difficult for parents and children alike because it destroys the sense of safety and security they have worked so hard to construct. This section offers a framework for families.

5. Managing, Accessing and Closing a Bank Account - DOWNLOAD PDF

This section provides guidance to help individuals prepare in advance to maintain, access, share or close bank accounts.

6. Credit Card, Prepaid and Debit Cards - DOWNLOAD PDF

This section addresses issues about managing credit, prepaid and debit cards such as dealing with stolen cards, using cards outside of the US and managing accounts.

7. Managing Outstanding Short-Term Service Contracts and Related Bills - DOWNLOAD PDF

This chapter provides guidance on short-term service contracts and bills in order and to decide whether and how to terminate these contracts.

8. Payday and Other Short-Term Loans - DOWNLOAD PDF

This section provides guidance about managing short-term debts such as payday and car title loans.

9. Insurance - DOWNLOAD PDF

This chapter describes how to approach issues related to immigrant’s insurance policies in the event of detention or deportation, including the options for handling current policies, factors to consider when choosing a path and how to plan ahead.

10. Power of Attorney - DOWNLOAD PDF

A “power of attorney” (POA) is a powerful tool available to immigrants to help them manage their property in the face of deportation. Because a POA can be an invaluable first step in protecting an immigrant’s assets, we begin the manual with an in‐depth discussion of the tool.

12. Cars, Car Loans and Car Leases - DOWNLOAD PDF

If you are being deported, you can sell your car, give it up, or take it with you. It depends on whether you own or lease your car and if you have a car loan. This section helps describe various options and considerations.

13. Ending a Residential Lease - DOWNLOAD PDF

Deportation can cause many concerns about living situations. This section outlines the basic things to consider about your residential lease if you may be facing deportation.

14. Handling Valuables - DOWNLOAD PDF

This section describes how to approach issues related to an immigrant’s valuable personal property in the event of detention or deportation, including potential confiscation or destruction, options for handling property still in possession, factors to consider when choosing a path, and how to plan ahead. This section targets Preparing Immigrants, but contains useful information for Detained and Supervised Immigrants as well.

15. Taking Money Across the Border - DOWNLOAD PDF

Taking cash or things like cash (such as checks, money orders, etc.) across the border presents both legal and practical concerns. This section discusses these concerns, which are relevant to all people leaving the United States, both in the deportation context and otherwise.

11. Selling a Residential Property - DOWNLOAD PDF

In the face of deportation, if you own real property you must make decisions on what to do with this property and how to manage loans which may be owed for this property. This section will address some of the choices and more important decisions to be made.

16. Remittance Protections - DOWNLOAD PDF

This section discusses the details and applicability of protections for individuals who send remittance transfers.

17. Collecting Unpaid Wages - DOWNLOAD PDF

Immigrants in the United States, both with and without work authorization, are legally entitled to overtime pay and the minimum wage. Despite these rights, immigrants working in the United States must often respond to employers’ violations of labor law. In the face of deportation, an immigrant often must also take steps to recover their last paycheck. Often, simply sending an updated address to an employer will resolve this issue, but sometimes an immigrant may need to take further steps to protect his or her rights to a last paycheck. This section provides concrete advice for recovering a final paycheck during and after deportation.

18. Social Security - DOWNLOAD PDF

For immigrants who are Non-U.S. Citizens, whether Preparing Immigrants or Supervised Immigrants in the face of Voluntary Departure, there are steps they can take to determine their eligibility for U.S. Social Security Benefits (“SS Benefits”). The section, which is only relevant to a small subset of immigrants, either Insured Workers or dependents or survivors, addresses both the legal and practical considerations.


19. Veterans Benefits



20. Dissolving and Selling a Business


21. Filing Taxes - DOWNLOAD PDF

Filing taxes and receiving a tax refund (if an immigrant has overpaid taxes) is a necessary part of earning income in the United States. Under the “substantial presence” test, most immigrants are classified as resident aliens for tax purposes and must file the standard form 1040. This chapter explains tax filing terms,options and implications.

"Protecting Assets" our original 2012 deportation manual - PDF

As you wait for new and updated chapters to be released, look to our 2012 for general guidance and practical tips.

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