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What If I Get Deported but My Children Were Born in the U.S.?

The Torres Law Firm May 1, 2022

Deportation is every immigrant’s worst nightmare. The situation can be even more stressful and frightening if you are at risk of deportation and you have children who were born in the United States.

If you are an undocumented immigrant who had children while living in the United States, your children automatically acquired U.S. citizenship. But does it mean that you cannot get deported if your children are U.S. citizens?

When facing deportation, you need to understand your legal options and determine if you qualify for relief from removal. At The Torres Law Firm, our immigration attorneys in Corpus Christi, Texas, can help you navigate the legal system and fight zealously to defend you from deportation. The Torres Attorneys proudly serve immigrants and their families in Dallas, Corpus Christi, Fort Worth, and throughout the state of Texas.

Having a U.S. Born Child Does Not Shelter You from Deportation

Contrary to popular belief, just because you have children who were born in the U.S. does not necessarily mean that you will get relief from removal. However, having U.S.-born children may temporarily shield you from deportation if you are eligible to obtain relief.

Many non-citizens also mistakenly believe that they can get U.S. citizenship and avoid deportation through their U.S.-born children. While it is true that you can become a U.S. citizen through your children, this path to citizenship exists only for those whose U.S.-born children are at least 21 years old. Thus, if you are at risk of deportation but your children are younger than 21, you cannot obtain relief from removal through your kids.

Another removal relief option is known as “prosecutorial discretion.” The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has the power to choose who to deport and who not to deport. The power is known as prosecutorial discretion, which allows non-citizen immigrants to avoid deportation if they have no criminal background and can prove that they are contributing to the U.S. economy.

Cancellation of Removal

If removal proceedings have begun and you are at risk of getting deported, you might be able to apply for a cancellation of removal based on the following factors:

  1. You continually have lived in the country for 10 years or longer;

  2. You can prove that deportation would cause undue and exceptional hardship to your child, spouse, or parent who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident (LPR);

  3. You meet the requirement of “good moral character”; and

  4. You have no convictions for certain crimes and have not violated certain laws while living in the U.S.

When an application for cancellation of removal is filed, an immigration judge will use their discretion to decide whether to approve or reject your request.

What Happens to My Child

Who Was Born in the U.S.?

The federal government has passed a number of policies to protect parents of minor children regardless of their immigration status. One of such policies is known as the Detained Parents Directive, the primary purpose of which is to allow detained and deported parents to maintain a relationship with their children in the United States.

When you are at risk of deportation, you may wonder, “What will happen to my children in the United States if I’m deported?” If you have U.S.-born children, you will most likely have to make tough decisions about your children’s future in the event of your deportation. Essentially, you may decide one of the following:

  • Leave the country with your children. Most parents who get deported but have U.S.-born children decide to take their children with them.

  • Let your children stay in the United States with a guardian. Alternatively, you can transfer your physical and legal custody rights to a trusted guardian, so your children can stay in the U.S.

  • Put your children in foster care. When a parent does not make arrangements to leave their children with a guardian and decides not to leave the country with their kids, they will most likely enter the foster care system.

When making a decision regarding your child’s future in the event of your deportation, keep in mind that your parental rights may be terminated if your child is not in your custody for at least 15 of the past 22 months.

Legal Guidance You Can Trust

The risk of losing your children can be frightening if you are an undocumented immigrant who has a U.S.-born child. That is why you need to explore your legal options if you are facing deportation and have children who were born in the U.S. The Torres Attorneys in Corpus Christi, Texas, are dedicated to vigorously protecting the rights of immigrants. We take an individualized approach to every case we handle. Get a case review to discuss your specific situation and understand your legal options. We proudly serve clients in Dallas, Corpus Christi, Fort Worth, and throughout the state of Texas.