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Have a plan in case of immigration arrest

Authored By: Legal Aid Society, LawHelpNY
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If you are not a U.S. citizen and believe that you are at risk of being deported, it is important to have a plan. You can take concrete steps now to prepare your family in case ICE arrests you or a family member. Follow the numbered steps to make a plan for you and your family.

Gather your paperwork

1. Gather key documents and keep them in a safe place.

This includes documents that show you have been in the U.S. for at least two years. You may need this to prove you have a right to see an immigration judge before ICE can decide to deport you.

2. Make copies of your documents and give them to a friend or relative you trust.

3. Memorize the phone number of a family member and immigration lawyer who is familiar with your situation.

Find free immigration legal service providers in your area.

4. Make a list of personal information your family will need in case you are detained.

5. Keep a list of family or friends in your native country.

Your family in the U.S. may want to alert them in case you are deported.

6. Tell your family about the ICE Detainee Locator.

If you are detained, your family can use the website to find you. They can also call ICE at (212) 264-5085.

To continue, click on the green Step 2 tab above.

Make sure your child is well-cared for

1. Talk to your children about your plan for what will happen to them if you are detained or deported.

And teach your children what do if they arrive home and you are not there.

2. Identify someone you trust to take care of your children, and give that person formal permission to make decisions for them.

Complete this form that the person can show to schools and doctors to prove he/she has your permission to make decisions regarding your child. Sign it in front of a notary.

3. Make a list of important information for each child.

4. Update school information.

Make sure your child’s school, child care provider, or summer camp has an up-to-date list and contact information of the people who can pick up your child.

5. If you can, start putting money aside to help pay for things your child may need.

To continue, click on the green Step 3 tab above.

Make sure your child can travel to join you

1. Get your child a passport now.

If your child needs to travel outside the U.S., he or she will need a passport. If your child is a U.S. citizen, it is best to get a U.S. passport for them now. Use this form to request a U.S. passport.

If your child is a dual citizen (a citizen of the U.S. and another country), it may be a good idea to get a passport from both countries. Contact the consulate of the other country for instructions on how to apply for a passport for your child.

If your child is under 18, both parents have to give permission for the child to request a passport. The easiest way to do this is for both parents to go with the child to apply for the passport.

If one of the parents cannot go with the child to apply for the passport, he or she will have to fill out this Statement of Consent form. The parent will need to sign the form in front of a notary and provide a photocopy of his or her identification together with the consent form. The Statement of Consent form is only good for three months after it is signed and notarized.

If you are a single parent and do not need to get permission from the other parent, you must explain why and provide proof. For example, the court order granting you sole custody, a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate listing you as the sole parent, or a certified copy of the death certificate of the other parent.

If you are NOT a single parent, but you can’t locate the other parent or get them to complete the statement of consent, you will need to fill out this form explaining why.

If your child is not a U.S. citizen, contact the appropriate foreign consulate for instructions on how to obtain a passport for your child.

2. Organize all travel documents in a secure folder that can be accessed easily.

If your minor child is going to travel outside the United States without you or another parent, they will need their original birth certificate, passport and copies of the documents listed on the travel permission form below.

3. Give permission for your child to travel alone.

The child must have a piece of paper saying they are allowed to travel alone or with someone other than a parent. Each parent should sign a travel permission form. If one parent cannot or will not sign the form, you must explain why you cannot get the other parent’s permission. You must sign the form in front of a notary.

4. Check the airline’s requirements for children traveling without their parents.

Each airline has its own policy for children traveling without their parents. We’ve compiled the major airlines’ travel policies for children.

Last Review and Update: Aug 24, 2017