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Prepping for the worst case scenario: Planning for deportation

If you're an undocumented immigrant with children that are United States citizens, it's wise to have an emergency plan in place in case you are detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and ultimately deported.

While each situation is unique, there are some basics that you should have in place:

-- Decide who you would prefer to have custody of your children and make sure that he or she is willing to take on the responsibility. If at all possible, have a back-up person in place -- just in case something happens to your first choice.

-- Get a guardianship agreement ready. Guardianship is necessary in order for your child's caretaker to be able to enroll your children in school, authorize their medical care and make other decisions for them. A legal guardian can be a relative, such as an older sibling, as long as he or she is legally an adult.

-- Have a power of attorney drawn up that will allow your children's guardian to access any financial accounts that you have, in order to get the money for your children. That will also allow them access to your residence, so that they can get your personal possessions and anything that the children need.

-- Put all of the important documents that may be needed, such as shot records, doctors' names and contact information, the names of any close relatives and their contact information, birth certificates and other identifying information into a single binder that can be quickly accessed.

-- Put aside a small amount of cash and put it into the binder. That will make sure that your children have money for necessities while they wait on their guardian.

-- Talk to your children about what to do if they come home and you don't. Since you could potentially be detained without warning, your children need to know what to do if you don't come home. Make sure they know what is in the binder and how to use it, including who to call first.

Experts caution that even if you are the sole caretaker for your children that you cannot count on precedents set by ICE in previous years. Thousands of children have already been placed into foster care because both parents have been detained or deported.

For more help creating an emergency plan for your children in case you are deported, contact an immigration law attorney for advice.

Source: Slate, "If Mom and Dad Are Deported," Henry Grabar, March 09, 2017

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