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Custody of child citizens worries immigrants facing deportation

Some families in Texas contain citizens and immigrants residing in the country without documentation. The aggressive immigration policies of the Trump administration have increased deportations and forced many parents to find legal guardians for their children who possess citizenship.

According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, deportations increased by 9 percent in 2018 as of June. A report prepared by the Migration Policy Institute stated that approximately 5 million children lived with at least one parent who lacked documentation to be in the country from 2009 to 2013. The vast majority, 80 percent, of those children possessed citizenship. When authorities deport parents, the parents often scramble to make custody arrangements for their children.

In some states, new laws allow parents to execute a document that names a guardian for their children if deportation occurs. Often, parents choose grandparents or other relatives, who may or may not have a legal immigration status. Preparing an official assignment of guardianship often eases the worries of parents who face separation from their children. The proactive selection of a guardian could prevent their children from landing in the foster care system. Placing children with trusted relatives or friends also gives parents a way to maintain contact with their children.

State family law guides the rules regarding child custody, and a person with concerns about who will take care of a child may wish to consult an attorney. During a consultation, a person might learn how the state would determine the best interests of the child in regards to custody matters. To promote the person's wishes, an attorney may be able to petition a family court to approve of a custody arrangement. An attorney may strive to win a favorable ruling by communicating how the arrangement could meets the child's needs.

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