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DHS Detains Foreign Born Parents of Unaccompanied Child Migrants

(Raleigh, North Carolina – August 18, 2017)  Margaret W. Wong & Associates LLC attorney Allison Chan sees foreign born everyday. Many of her clients have always been legal, and will always be.  They are college professors, students, practicing physicians, engineers, and even musicians.

But many are without legal status, entering the “illegal alien” state in so many ways: overstaying a visa, entering without inspection at the border, or being brought by parents. These are hard-working residents. They have jobs – often several – and pay taxes, own homes, and send their children to local schools. Undocumented immigrants across the USA pay $12 billion each year in state and local taxes.

Children are coming to the USA in record numbers. Many are making the journey themselves, but others are being sent by relatives, to join family members in the USA. Families may pay thousands of dollars per child to have “coyotes” escort them to the United States. As we saw recently in San Antonio, where 9 people died in a tractor trailer filled with as many as 200, the journey can be perilous.

Recently, the Federal Government has announced its plans to target parents who they believe have paid to have their children brought illegally to the United States. DHS – Homeland Security Investigation has been tasked to find these parents by asking children directly, asking parents directly, and even with casual conversation such as, “How much do you owe to the people who brought your child?”

“Many of our clients are not even aware that their children have made the long and treacherous journey here, until the children have crossed the border, and families have been contacted by DHS to take custody of their child,” said Allison Chan. “DHS agents tasked to investigate the circumstances of how children are able to make this journey and come to the U.S., are handing over these individuals under investigations to ERO (Enforcement and Removal Operations) for removal.”

Parents guilty of paying for their child’s passage have broken the law, and therefore, even if they have a Green Card, are in jeopardy of deportation. “We have had several clients picked up in the past couple weeks,” Allison Chan said. “It’s the law, but it’s a particularly harsh application of the law. These are good people, seeking the only way they know of keeping their families together.”

Margaret W. Wong gives strategies to clients, “You must obey the law, but you don’t have to tell them every detail. You cannot lie. That’s deportable. But if they don’t ask, don’t volunteer the information.” She especially suggests coaching children to be very careful what they say and to whom.

“Contact an attorney if you don’t have one,” suggests Allison Chan. “Any time DHS asks to see you, make sure your attorney is with you to protect your rights. We have seen so many people put in detention at a normally scheduled DHS appointment, it’s time people take great precautions.”

Margaret W. Wong, Esq.
Founder & Managing Partner
Margaret W. Wong & Associates LLC
3150 Chester Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44114; 216-566-9908

Margaret W. Wong, Esq., is listed in Top Lawyer and Super Lawyer, is rated AV Preeminent, and is an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. She also serves as a foundation board member of State University of New York at Buffalo, her alma mater, and is co-chair of the Immigration Law Committee of NAPABA Bar Association. Margaret is the author of “The Immigrant’s Way,” published in three languages, and has authored numerous articles on immigration law. 


Gordon Landefeld