Over the past few weeks, my office has been receiving numerous calls from undocumented immigrants, concerned about what will happen to their families if they are detained or removed from the United States.
On February 21, 2017, new enforcement priority guidelines were released by the Department of Homeland Security that, unfortunately, make these concerns even more pronounced. Under the new guidelines, ICE agents are advised to detain and place into removal proceedings, anyone who cannot show proof of immigration status. Further, there will be an increased emphasis on detaining individuals during the pendency of removal proceedings. Anyone with an outstanding order of removal will likely be detained and the order executed promptly.
Under these guidelines, it is likely that many people with families will be detained and/or removed with little or no opportunity to make arrangements for their families. Therefore, it is imperative that advance thought is given to these issues, and proper legal documents put into place to offer as much protection as possible to family members.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is a document that allows you to grant authority to another individual (your “agent”), to handle legal, financial, real estate, and other important issues on your behalf. If you have accounts, properties, or businesses in your name, your agent would have the authority to access those accounts, buy and sell property, engage in legal transactions, and otherwise handle these matters on your behalf. Your agent can be a spouse, adult child, relative, friend; basically anyone you choose to handle your financial and legal matters.
Your power of attorney can also designate your choice for a guardian of any minor children, should the need for guardianship arise. Your agent would still need a court order to gain this authority, but your instructions in the power of attorney provide excellent evidence of your wishes to the judge/clerk of court.
HIPPA privacy forms govern who is allowed access to you/your child’s medical information. If you have minor children, signing HIPPA forms in advance can allow someone else to communicate with your child’s medical professionals and obtain medical records.
A Medical Consent to Treat form allows a parent to sign authorizing another individual to consent to medical treatment on behalf of the child. Without this authorization, unless it is an emergency, only a parent can consent to medical treatment for a minor.
If you are making arrangements for someone else to care for your children in the event of your detention and/or removal, it’s a good idea to assemble basic information in advance. This might include:
- Copies of your birth certificate
- Copies of each child’s birth certificate
- Copy of each child’s passport (if applicable)
- Copy of your marriage certificate
- Children’s vaccination records
- Children’s allergies, major medical information
- Contact information for each child’s school
- Contact information for each child’s medical provider
- Fully executed, registered power of attorney for yourself
- Completed HIPPA forms authorizing caregiver to access a child’s medical records
At the Law Office of Kelli Y. Allen, PLLC, our immigration attorney offers assistance with these matters. Please contact us at 704-727-4900 for additional information about how we can help you protect your family.