In August, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a long awaited and critical Directive on “Facilitating Parental Interests in the Course of Civil Immigration Enforcement Activities.” The Women’s Refugee Commission, immigrant rights, and child welfare groups across the country reacted with cautious optimism that the directive will provide some measure of comfort to the thousands of parents who could face permanent separation from their children because their family is caught between the immigration and children welfare systems.
More recently, ICE developed a Parental Interests Directive Fact Sheet in English and Spanish, which provides a concise overview of the Directive’s major provisions, as well as a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) posted on the ICE website that address a broad range of parental interests issues. Both of these resources and more are posted at ICE's ERO Community Outreach page.
Coinciding with the release of ICE’s Parental Interests Directive, the Women's Refugee Commission released a two-page guide for detained and deported parents with child custody concerns. This guide, which ICE will make available in all immigration detention facilities housing adults for more than 72 hours, provides parents with steps they can take to protect their parental rights; information on family court proceedings, parent-child visitation, and coordinating care of children; as well as helpful ICE resources for detainees.
The release of the two-page guide precedes the publication of the Women’s Refugee Commission’s larger toolkit for immigrant parents, which will provide detailed information on how to maintain their parental rights and better understand and navigate the child welfare system.
The Migrant Rights and Justice Program works to protect the rights of families impacted by immigration enforcement. We focus in particular on the thousands of undocumented, immigrant women whose parental rights are violated, and sometimes terminated, when they are detained or deported.
We work to ensure that the Department of Homeland Security institutionalizes and enforces sufficient protections to keep families together. We also advocate for policies and procedures that guarantee child welfare practices do not discriminate against parents on the basis of their immigration status or cultural background.