Since the election our office, along with many other immigration attorneys, has received a surge of calls from clients and prospective clients. Their main question is, “What will happen to the immigration laws under President Trump?”
Candidate Donald Trump made lots of promises. The most popular are:
- Begin working on an impenetrable physical wall on the southern border, on day one.
- Trump also made a priority of ending “sanctuary cities,” those places that have policies or laws limiting how much local government agencies can work with federal authorities on immigration issues.
- Trump promises to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA.
- Besides expanding the border patrol and preventing immigrants from coming in to the country, Trump alsowants to deport at least five million undocumented immigrants
All in all, President Trump plans to clamp down on illegal immigration.
For those that are in the United States undocumented or have family members that are undocumented, it is very important to arrange a consultation with an immigration attorney who practices in the area of removal defense to discuss possible remedies and decide on a plan. That plan may be a proactive or reactive legal defense to any removal proceeding initiated in the future or the plan may be to waive due process relief and accept removal orders from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
But that is not the only conversation we should be having.
Since no one person is only defined by their immigration status, it is also important to talk about what happens to the “life left behind” if an individual is deported. If President Trump fulfills his promise, more and more families are at risk of being torn apart. That leads us to the “other” conversation.
How can you and your family be prepared? Here is a check list of items to keep in mind when making a family plan:
- Sign several blank USCIS Form G-28s (attorney representation forms) so that a family member can hire an attorney to act on behalf of someone who has been detained.
- Be financially prepared to hire an attorney.
- Execute one or several Power of Attorneys, giving authority only to a well-known and trusted person who can act in your best interests if you are detained and removed.
- Your immigration attorney will want to have one point of contact in the event you are detained.
- That Power of Attorney should also contemplate the following:
- Who will pick up your last check at your employer’s location?
- Who will sell your property, including your home?
- What will happen to all your personal belongings?
- Who will handle all your personal accounts? Such as your electricity bill, phone bill, insurance, and other household accounts.
- Execute a Department of Motor Vehicles Power of Attorney so that a trusted person can sell or transfer title regarding the motor vehicle(s) owned by a detained person.
- In the area of child custody it is advisable that undocumented parents seek advice from a local family law attorney.
- Write down your intended plan for children who may be left behind. Desires for childcare in the United States should be in writing and notarized.
- If the children are to join the parent following removal, then execute a notarized letter of permission for the children to travel outside of the United States with a named adult person.
- Obtain United States Passports for all United States Citizen Children. List passport numbers and place a copy of the passport biography page for each child in a secure location.
- Obtain an Apostille from your state’s Secretary of State for the birth certificates of all United States Citizen Children.
- Obtain an Apostille from your nation’s consulate regarding the birth records of children born outside of the United States
- Obtain a current passport from your nation’s consulate office.
- Obtain official FBI records report for any foreign-born person who has a criminal conviction or a prior order of removal, including all border deportations.
- Interview companies that service Federal Immigration Bonds and write down the contact information for the preferred company in a secure location.
- Keep a copy of all prior immigration records in a secure location. Keep a copy of all tax filings in a secure location.
- Keep a copy of evidence that proves continuous residence in the United States in a secure location. Evidence should include a variety of dated documents from each year since arrival in the United States. For Example:
- Lease Records
- Pay Stubs
- School Records
- Household Bills
- Any other document with your name and dates, proving residence
This list is not a comprehensive list, but it better addresses how families should be prepared. This preparation will not “cure” an individual’s unlawful status and it will not prevent any possible deportation. It will give undocumented individuals and their families’ the peace of mind needed to have their affairs in order if the unthinkable where to happen.