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New legislation would affect parents facing immigration charges

There is new legislation making its way to the New York law books. The bill, awaiting the expected signature of Governor Cuomo, looks to ease the stress of families that have parents facing immigration charges. Currently, children of undocumented parents may be taken into state or federal custody as a parent awaits his or her day in court. 

The legislation states that undocumented parents should be allowed to personally appoint a legal guardian for their children when they are being detained or facing deportation. This expands on existing laws that provide similar relief for parents that have a terminal illness or a similar situation that will render them unable to care for their own children for a period of time. If the bill is signed into law, it will mean that parents facing "administrative separations" will be allowed to do the same. This will now include parents that are incarcerated, deported, detained or arrested. 

The focus is on making sure that even though children may have to be separated from a parent for a number of reasons, families can maintain control by choosing a guardian they are familiar with and trust. Supporters say this will help keep children from being further traumatized and also provide relief to state and federal children's facilities, such as foster care or juvenile detention facilities, which are reportedly already overburdened. The New York governor's office has promised to take the bill into careful consideration. 

Parents who find themselves facing immigration charges might fear that they will lose contact with their children and families during the legal process. On many occasions, an attorney experienced in immigration law can help. An attorney may be able to better explain to parents what their rights are, and assist them as they attempt to resolve their legal cases and be reunited with the children they love. 

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