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What If I Get Deported but My Children Were Born in the U.S.?

Kavitha Mathew Sept. 27, 2022

For generations, people have been coming to the United States in hopes of making a better life for themselves and their families. However, sometimes those who are still in the process of obtaining lawful residence run the risk of being deported. And, when these people have U.S.-born children, they’re often left wondering what will happen to their families and if there’s anything they can do to prevent deportation from happening.  

If you’re in the process of being deported and want to know more about the parental rights of immigrants with children born in the U.S., as well as the rights of your kids, call me at M Mathew Law Firm, PLLC. My main office is located in Dallas, Texas, but I’m able to give legal help to those living in Richardson, Lewisville, Irving, Farmers Branch, Grand Prairie, Garland, and Mesquite. 

Does Not Shelter You From Deportation  

In general, if you’re a parent facing deportation with children who were born in the U.S., there is little your kids can do to prevent this from happening. Only children over 21 can petition for permanent residency for a parent, but they also must prove they have the financial means to support you when they are in the country. If your children are younger than this, you will have limited options. 

One possible recourse involves something called  “prosecutorial discretion” or “deferred action.” If U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) chooses to exercise this power, it means you will get to stay in the country for longer, but it does not stop your deportation from happening, only delays it. It simply means that there are other people who need to be deported who pose a risk to the country that ICE must focus on first.  

Eligibility for Cancellation of Removal  

One other option you may have is to seek cancellation of removal, and this is a good option to pursue if you’ve lived in the U.S. for a long time. To qualify, you must have lived in the U.S. continually for at least 10 years, show “good moral character,” have not committed certain crimes, and show that being removed from the U.S. would cause great harm to you or your family. Of course, determining who has “good moral character” can be tricky, which is why it’s helpful to work with an immigration attorney who can help you prepare for your hearing with a judge. 

What Happens to My Children?  

The number one concern for parents in this situation is what will happen to their children if they are forced to leave. The first option is for you to arrange your own childcare through family or friends who are in the country legally. If you cannot do this, they will go into child protective services. Unfortunately, federal law states that parental rights may be terminated if a child has been out of a parent’s custody for 15 of the past 22 months. If this happens before you’re able to reenter the country, you must then go through CPS to be reunified with your children. 

You may also be able to request release from detention to care for your children while the deportation proceedings are underway, but this will only be a temporary fix. In some cases, parents will have to make the hard decision whether to bring their children with them or leave them in the U.S.  

Reunification with children is possible and will often grant you regular access to your children while you are deported. To be granted full reunification, you will likely need to work with an attorney.  

How Kavi Mathew Can Help  

If you’re in the Dallas, Texas, area and are concerned about what will happen to your family after you’re deported, contact me to learn about your options. I started my practice, M Mathew Law Firm, PLLC, over ten years ago to help people and families just like you. Reach out today to schedule an appointment.