Immigrant Caregivers

If you are an immigrant caregiver (including a parent, a legal guardian, a legal custodian, or other relative) who is worried that you may be separated from your child because of immigration enforcement, you can get help planning for the future.

Some ways you can plan for possible immigration enforcement includes:

  • For those with status, carrying proof of status at all times.
  • Creating an emergency plan for you and your family in case you are detained or deported.
    • Choose an emergency contact and memorize their phone number. This should be someone you trust or even your lawyer.
    • Choose a standby guardian for your children.
    • LawHelpNY and ILRC also have suggestions for how to plan for possible immigration enforcement.

What is a standby guardian?

Immigrant caregivers can appoint a “standby guardian” to take care of their child, in case they are separated from their child through immigration arrest, detention, or deportation.

A “standby guardian” is a person who is acts as a “backup” caregiver in case the primary caregiver is unable to take care of the child because they are arrested or detained by immigration authorities or deported.

Designating a standby guardian is not the same as giving up parental rights. Standby guardianship only goes into effect if a parent is separated from their child.

Standby guardians have the power to make important decisions for a child in their care, including medical decisions and decisions about where the child goes to school. There are no immigration status requirements to be a standby guardian. However, there are certain other requirements, so interested caregivers should consult with a lawyer to see if designating a standby guardian can help them plan for their children’s future.

Immigrant caregivers may have additional options to help plan for the future, and should consult with a lawyer to discuss further.

For free, safe immigration legal help, including help to designate a standby guardian, immigrant New Yorkers can call 1-800-354-0365 between 9AM-6PM, Monday – Friday, or call 311 and say “ActionNYC.”


Child Immigrants

If you are facing deportation and need a lawyer, call the State Office of New Americans Hotline for a referral at (800) 566-7636.

If you are the caretaker of a child immigrant and you need an immigration lawyer, call the State Office of New Americans Hotline for a referral at (800) 566-7636.

Find out what services you can get as a recently arrived child immigrant.

Additional Resources

Resources for Immigrant Caregivers Flyer [English]
Resources for Immigrant Caregivers Flyer [Spanish]