March 2023Vol. 24, No. 2Using the ICE Parental Interests Directive to Ensure Fair Treatment of Detained or Deported Parents
An October 2022 directive from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) titled Parental Interest of Noncitizens Parents and Legal Guardians of Minor Children or Incapacitated Adults provides protections for noncitizen families. The directive is an update of various ICE policies related to detaining and deporting parents, and it summarizes the various protections ICE offers noncitizen parents in order to prevent unnecessary barriers to family reunification. Largely, it ensures that parents or guardians who are arrested or detained for a civil immigration proceeding are able to maintain visitation with their children and participate in child welfare or other court proceedings.
Individuals covered by the directive include parents or legal guardians who are the primary caretaker of dependents and those who have a direct interest in family or probate court, guardianship, or child welfare proceedings involving a minor or incapacitated adult. These individuals may participate in family court or child welfare proceedings to maintain or regain custody of a dependent. They can participate remotely if transport presents security or public safety issues.
The directive has information useful for child welfare professionals. For example, child welfare professionals should ensure parent-child visitation is facilitated and inform ICE of special visitation requirements. It is also recommended that child welfare professionals notify ICE when a child of a parent detained by ICE is in child protective services custody, since ICE detention facility personnel may not be aware.
ICE has a factsheet with information about the directive, requirements related to court proceedings and services, visitation, travel, and more.