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Fear of deportation can emotionally cripple families

Families come to America in hopes of finding a better life. Others immigrate to Louisiana and elsewhere before having children. As you are aware, it can be difficult for undocumented immigrants to earn the legal right to stay in the United States. The problem becomes more concerning when parents and children worry that officials will separate them from each other.

Over the past years, you and other undocumented immigrants may not have had much concern about deportation as long as you stayed under the radar and obeyed the law. Immigration authorities were mainly concerned about detaining undocumented immigrants who posed problems, such as the following situations:

  • Those who had received a criminal charge or conviction
  • Immigrants who posed a public safety or national security risk
  • Those who allegedly committed acts that could result in a criminal offense charge

A major problem with the above points is that they are open to broad interpretation by immigration authorities, who often use their own judgment to determine whether to detain an immigrant. For example, you may not have committed a crime, but you might find yourself detained if law enforcement pulled you over and found you were driving without a license.

As you might imagine, many families constantly live with the fear of being detained or deported without warning. This has resulted in parents being afraid to leave their homes even to go grocery shopping or take their kids to school. Children may suffer from anxiety, nightmares and eating disorders, and can have problems socially or academically. One undocumented mother described how she had written a power of attorney granting a friend custody of her children if immigration authorities deported her, and how her children felt terrified of coming home from school to find that authorities had taken their parents.

No family should fear separation from each other. You may gain peace of mind by seeking counsel on ways to protect your immigration status.