Parents ready if they are deported

Published May 17, 2007

Increasingly fearful of getting swept up in a government raid, some undocumented parents around the country are drawing up legal instructions designating someone to take care of their children if they are jailed or deported.

At the urging of activists, parents are authorizing, in writing, a friend, neighbor or relative to watch their children. And they are being advised to carry the paperwork with them at all times.

During workplace roundups of illegal immigrants, youngsters sometimes become separated from their parents and are taken into government custody, in some cases because the parents fail to disclose they have children. The children can be held for days or weeks before they are reunited with their parents.

The risk was illustrated recently by a federal raid in New Bedford, Mass., where state officials said dozens of children were stranded at schools and with babysitters when more than 300 workers were arrested at a leather factory.