California residents may be aware that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are supposedly no longer separating undocumented immigrant families at the Mexican border. However, getting children that have been detained out of immigration facilities is often a difficult and expensive process for their parents or relatives. Strict rules have been put into place to prevent vulnerable children being placed in unfit homes and keep them out of the hands of human traffickers, which some advocacy groups are being used by the authorities to gather information on undocumented workers.
Children being held in immigration detention facilities can only be released to their parents or a sponsor living in the United States. Sponsors are often undocumented workers themselves, and they are required to establish that they are blood relatives of the child or children in question, submit pay stubs or other proof of income and agree to home visits. However, media outlets are reporting that ICE agents are gathering the fingerprints of prospective sponsors and all of the members of their households during these visits.
Sponsors who meet all of the requirements also face financial challenges. Children released from immigration detention facilities usually travel by air and must be accompanied by an official escort. Sponsors who often have limited resources are expected to meet these costs, which can amount to hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Attorneys with immigration law experience may be able to offer individuals or families seeking a new life in the United States alternatives to entering the country illegally. Attorneys could explain the various visa programs available for those who wish to work in America as well as the steps involved in obtaining a green card and eventual American citizenship. Attorneys may also pursue asylum claims on behalf of those who would face persecution if they returned to their home countries.