This resource provides guidance on how to navigate seven different scenarios in which children and their families may benefit from support services but face intersecting immigration and child welfare legal challenges. The analysis informs not only child welfare professionals including case workers, attorneys, and judges, but also immigration law professionals whose clients may interact with the state child welfare system. Understanding the complexities that arise when families interact with both systems is a critical step in better advocacy for and support of immigrant children and families.

Seven distinct scenarios are explored:

  • Case 1: A child who lacks immigration status is experiencing abuse in the home by a nonparent.
  • Case 2: A mother who lacks immigration status is detained by immigration enforcement authorities and fears separation from her son, who was born in Guatemala, and her U.S. citizen daughter.
  • Case 3: A child who arrived in the United States as an unaccompanied minor becomes homeless after his sponsor placement with relatives falls through.
  • Case 4: A child who lacks immigration status suffers from neglect at home while residing with his father, who also lacks status.
  • Case 5: The mother of a U.S. citizen child is held in immigration detention and faces possible deportation from the United States.
  • Case 6: A father in a foreign country seeks reunification with his child after the baby is removed from his mother in the United States.
  • Case 7: A mother with deferred action experiences domestic violence in her home but is scared to contact authorities.

Related Resources

Advisory Revised Aug 2019: How Will ‘Public Charge’ Proposed Policy Changes Impact Immigrant Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a final rule, published in the Federal Register on August 14, 2019, which significantly changes longstanding policy about the meaning and application of the “public charge” inadmissibility provisions of immigration law. According to DHS, this is to ensure that non-citizens “who are admitted to the United States, seek extension of stay or change of status, or apply for adjustment of status will be self-sufficient, i.e., will rely on their financial resources, as well as the financial resources of the family, sponsors, and private organizations.”

Advisory: How Do Recent HUD Proposed Rules About Verification of Immigration Status Impact Survivors of Domestic & Sexual Assault?

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed regulations that change longstanding policy relating to immigration status verification requirements and disallowing those ineligible for federal housing assistance (i.e., members of “mixed-status” households) from residing in HUD’s public and specified assisted housing programs. This advisory describes impacts of the proposed rule on immigrant survivors of violence

May 2019 Advocate & Legal Services Findings: Immigrant Survivors Fear Reporting Violence

In May 2019, a coalition of national organizations gathered feedback from nearly six hundred advocates and attorneys from across the United States, learning that many immigrant victims of domestic and sexual violence are now too afraid to call the police or go to court to get help. The advocates report that survivors have an increased fear of deportation, retaliation by their abusers, and separation from their children.

By ABA Center on Children and the Law

May 2018

Share this: