Hundreds of parents in Alabama who fear being rounded up at any time and jailed or deported under the state's draconian new immigration law are making legal arrangements to have their children placed in the care of relatives or friends.
Lawyers working with Hispanic communities throughout Alabama report a huge surge in recent days in approaches from Hispanic families so desperate about the threat posed by the new law that they are preparing for the worst: sudden separation from their own children. They are drawing up power of attorney letters – documents usually applied to property or business assets, but in Alabama almost exclusively now used for the safe keeping of children.
"This is a real human rights crisis," said Linton Joaquin of the National Immigration Law Center. "There's widespread panic, and though parents don't want to abandon their children they are seeking guardianships for them."
Shay Farley, legal director of a collective of Alabama lawyers called Appleseed, says they have already drawn up more than 200 power of attorney papers in just one town, Tuscaloosa. A similar clamour for legal help is reported across the state.
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October 12, 2011
Posted by Annalee Davis