Fathers’ rights may take backseat to immigration issues

We have discussed many iterations on our blog regarding how fathers might be denied access to their children. Most of these instances, of course, involve divorce and the custody battles that ensue. There are other instances, however, where fathers’ rights are seen as secondary to other concerns — for example, illegal immigration.

In these cases, fathers who did not arrive in this country legally may face deportation. It may not come to that in many instances, but if a man is charged with an unrelated crime, his background often will come to light and the government will seek to deport him to his native country — regardless of his family obligations in the United States, and whether or not the children involved are American citizens.

An especially heart-wrenching case is playing out now with a man originally from Guatemala. He was arrested a few years ago on drunk driving charges. The arrest triggered the deportation process for the man, who entered the country illegally more than 15 years ago. The man’s 12-year-old son is distraught at the possibility of losing his father, who is his primary caregiver.

The man’s wife, the boy’s mother, is a native-born U.S. citizen and is a high-ranking executive. If the man is deported, the family would consider moving to Guatemala; however, that would uproot them and their way of life. The family’s life is likely to change dramatically, regardless of what happens.

Foster care is often the only option for kids whose parents are deported; this is hardly ideal. Fathers who are at risk of losing custody of their kids for whatever reason can choose to work with an experienced family law attorney to guide them through the difficult process.

Source: The Washington Post, “Deportations of parents can cast the lives of U.S.-citizen kids into turmoil,” Michael Alison Chandler, Dec. 29, 2013

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