Weekly, the news is flooded with reports of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids of undocumented adults with minor children, often U.S. born. While the detentions and arrests target individuals with removal or deportation orders, individuals with pending criminal charges, immigration fugitives, or those who re-enter the U.S. after deportation have also been picked-up in the dragnet raids.
My Parents Have Been Deported, Now What?
Undocumented parents of minor children are urged to plan for the custody and care of their minor children in the event they are picked up in a raid or arrested because of immigration problems. According to the Migration Policy Institute, almost 5 million minors under the age of 18 live with at least one parent with no immigration status to live or work in the U.S.
Undocumented parents often leave their children in the U.S. when they are deported. An older sibling or other relative with legal status or U.S. citizenship is often entrusted with the care and physical custody of the minor children. Not ready to confer legal custody on others, undocumented parents turn to guardianship to be able to continue making decisions regarding the minor’s health, welfare, and safety, but provide legal permission for another adult to care for the child.
New Jersey Guardianship for Minors Law
In New Jersey, a person can be appointed a guardian of minor children through a court order by the filing of a petition in court. The petition is filed by a person appointed by the parent for the benefit of the child. The New Jersey Department of Human Services defines guardianship as follows: “A guardian is a person or agency that is legally authorized to act on behalf of a minor or an incapacitated adult to assure that the person’s health, safety, and welfare needs are met and that his or her rights are protected. The duties of a guardian also include making decisions on behalf of the individual and giving informed consent in certain matters. However, the guardian is required to involve the person in decision-making to the extent that his or her abilities permit.”
To become a guardian, the state performs home visits and interviews the child and guardian about the process, legal proceedings, rights and responsibilities, and feelings about proposed relationship. These interviews are conducted by a court visitor who issues a recommendation in support or opposition to the proposed guardianship relationship. A hearing is conducted, and if successful, the court finds in favor of the interested person becoming the guardian of the child.
The guardian has responsibilities beyond the initial court review and hearing. After a certain amount of time, and every year thereafter until the child become 18, the guardian must provide the court with a status report of the child.
Find Out About Guardianship for Minors in New Jersey Now
If your family is in a situation in which one or more parents have no immigration status, seek the legal services of a Hackensack, New Jersey guardianship attorney. It is important that your family plans for the eventual exit of any parents and for the care of minor children who will remain in the U.S. Contact the Giro Law Firm now to schedule your case review. The Hackensack, New Jersey Guardianship Lawyer can help you family with your guardianship or conservatorship issues.