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Undocumented workers often short of child custody options

Immigrant communities in Florida and around the country have become increasingly anxious. President Trump vowed to deport millions of illegal aliens during a contentious election campaign, and many undocumented workers are taking him at his word. Advocacy groups in various parts of the country are holding workshops that provide immigrant workers with legal and financial advice, and they are commonly approached by parents who want to put contingency plans for their children into place.

While some of these parents are seeking temporary arrangements and plan on reuniting with their children, others are hoping to find ways to allow their children to remain in the United States. Children born in the United States are granted American citizenship automatically, but this has no bearing on the immigration statuses of their mothers and fathers. While the American-born children of undocumented workers may be U.S. citizens, it can be extremely difficult for their parents to find somebody willing or able to take them in.

Undocumented workers often lack the means to pay for legal and financial services, and they frequently turn to relatives or close family friends for help in time of need. While these individuals may be willing to accept American-born children into their homes, they are often unable to do so because they are facing immigration problems of their own. Filling out legal documents and visiting official buildings can also be intimidating for undocumented workers.

While experienced family law attorneys may understand why undocumented workers in Florida are reluctant to deal with authorities, they may urge them to weigh those fears against the welfare of their children. Attorneys could help parents select responsible guardians for their children, and they could answer their questions about the child custody process and the best interests of the child doctrine.

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