Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) June 6, 2017 –
In enforcing the travel ban and deportations of nationals from specific countries, families are likely to be separated from each other.
Due to the executive order instituting such travel bans, there have been cases of foreign nationals who were deported and thus, unable to be present to care for their U.S.-born children. Such issues arise in cases involving children in need of services and termination of parental rights.
The Department of Child Services is unwilling to provide accommodations to parents who have been deported. Family laws explicitly state that social services agencies within states must make efforts to offer services necessary to safeguard and reunite families. However, immigration laws and, in recent times, the varying political outlook would mandate the deportation of several parents of U.S.- born children who were formerly not a priority for deportation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or may no longer be given relief according to the immigration code.
“The best interests of the child are held to be in the care and custody of a parent who is deemed fit to be responsible for the child,” Virginia family lawyer Lisa McDevitt states. “In the absence of evidence proving that a parent is unfit, it is to the child’s advantage to remain with the parent.”
In one court case in which the attorney was successful, the court held that the state failed to prove clear and convincing evidence that termination of the client’s parental rights was in the best interests of his children. There was nothing in the record to indicate that the father was an unfit parent. It was evident that he was engaged in voluntary services in Mexico, and any shortcomings in complying with the case plan were insufficient to prove unfitness.
Many people who have been deported over the years have not committed any crime. In several cases, deportations have adversely impacted people's families and communities by causing families to be separated, financial hardship and emotional distress. In many cases, children were deprived of one or both parents. Such issues present a prime example of the ways in which family law and immigration law intersect.
Lisa Lane McDevitt
2155 Bonaventure Drive
Vienna, VA 22181