Illegal immigrants draft legal plans in case of deportation
Illegal immigrants nervous about stronger enforcement have started drawing up legal documents to spell out what they want to happen to their families and belongings if they are deported.
Attorneys in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas say illegal immigrants began approaching them for help preparing the documents as the national debate over immigration heated up in recent months.
“There’s a culture of fear out there,” says Jason Mills, a Fort Worth immigration attorney who was not asked for such help until this year.
Cecilia Menjívar, an Arizona State University sociology professor, says immigrant families started preparing informal plans in 2006, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were conducting raids at work sites.
Children were stranded at school when parents were arrested at work, she says. If workers were caught on the street, relatives didn’t know how to phone their employers. Wives couldn’t get access to detained husbands’ bank accounts. Menjívar says families began discussing who would care for children and preparing emergency lists: “People usually have the firefighters or police on that list, but in this case, it’s people who can take care of the kids, the number of employers.”
COMMENT: Good to have a plan, scary that a plan is needed.