How Parents of US-Born Children Can Fight Deportation
As you all may know, ICE agents across the country conducted raids all over the nation to round up undocumented immigrants in February. These raids resulted in about 700 arrests. What saddens me most is the impact this has on the children of those families. For instance, a story that unfurled in March shook the country into finally understanding the hard reality of the new administration’s immigration reform. February 28th, 2017 is a day that will remain etched in the memory of 13-year-old Fatima Avelica. Her father had been taking her to school when their car was pulled over. Fatima sobbed for a gut-wrenching 2 minutes while she recorded her father being handcuffed and taken away. His last words to his daughter were “Relax and be strong”.
The pure, unbridled fear in her voice will break your heart. Sadly, she is not alone. Just a few weeks ago, a woman came to my office. She was visibly upset and desperate. She brought with her a notice that she had received inviting her to an immigration hearing in three months’ time, a court hearing, and a deportation hearing. She has been living in the country for over 15 years now and has two children, aged 8 and 6. She was petrified, for herself, but most significantly, for her children. Her only question to me was “I’ve been here so long. I have children who are US citizens. Are they going to deport me? Are they going to take my children away from me?”
Who Can Stay?
I wish I had a better answer for her than that each case is fact-specific. But sadly, that is the truth. It is impossible to generalize. However, it may be possible to apply for a remedy called Cancellation of Removal when parents
- do not have a criminal record
- can prove good moral character
- have been in the US for over 10 years
- have children who are not babies
- have children who are US citizens
- have children who are integrated into the US school system and society
What is the Process?
You apply for this remedy before the judge and the trial attorney. You will need a lot of supporting documentation recording your stay in the US, documenting your US-citizen relatives, and above all, documenting the extreme and unusual hardships to your US citizen relatives if you were to be deported. You must also demonstrate good moral character. Having no arrests, convictions or a criminal record is definitely very helpful to your case.
If you do find yourself in a situation where you have been summoned to a deportation hearing, do not despair. There is still hope. I strongly recommend you talk to a competent immigration lawyer in NJ who has considerable experience in Cancellation of Removal or Cancellation of Deportation. Gather your documents together in order to optimize on the time you spend with the attorney, who will also explain the different steps of the process to you in more detail.
Our nation crumbles when the stability of its most basic building block, the family, is shaken. Keeping your family together is important to more people than you might think. It is the reason why immigration lawyers do what they do. My heart swells with pride at her spirit as I listen to 13-year-old Fatima Avelica vow to become an immigration lawyer, so she too can fight to keep families together. That spirit is what makes us the nation and the people that we are. It is everybody’s duty to safeguard the family structure.
If your loved one has become a victim of ICE or are awaiting deportation, contact our office in New Jersey immediately. Immigration Attorney Susan Scheer has decades of experience keeping families together.