A Climate of Deportation and the Impact on Local Families
As the only free legal clinic in the lowcountry, we thought our plates got full following Hurricane Matthew. Ah, the days when all we had to worry about were the legal rights of our low income community following that natural disaster. And then a few weeks ago people started getting arrested and the deportation process initiated.
As the numbers begin to increase along with the rumors, one thing is evident-there are a lot of scared families who have family members who are not legal citizens. We are hearing hard truths and rumors and horror stories and stories of grace...but the common thread we are hearing is fear. Fear from parents who are not citizens, but have children who were born in the United States and are citizens, wondering where to start. should should they be deported and how to legally give the care of their children to someone else.
Questions are coming at us from many directions. Questions from scared family members, from colleagues in the community and from other organizations, ....so many questions, we had to back up and figure out the basics of how we can be of the most service to the community.
So we are starting with what we know and what we do every day. In the family law realm of the underserved, we seek to help those in need. With a diverse board, an excellent staff, legal volunteers, and Executive Attorney, we plan to have monthly sessions to answer questions on custody issues relating to immigration and deportation. We will attempt to help as many qualified applicants as we can reasonably manage.
We know this is just the beginning and we will change to adapt as we can to what our community needs.