Roughly half a million undocumented immigrants live in California’s Bay Area, one of the highest concentrations in the nation. Parents and children continue fleeing violence in Central America, with many looking to relocate with family already living in the Bay. There are thousands of unaccompanied immigrant youth enrolled in Bay Area schools, with hundreds more arriving each year.
1 in 8 students in California schools has at least one undocumented parent
These families often lack the legal and community resources they need to navigate the U.S. immigration system. Fraudulent immigration consultants, known as “Notarios,” prey on families’ fear and rob them of both their hard-earned savings and often of any possibility of improving their immigration status in the future. It is increasingly important to provide families with reliable information about changes in immigration policy and enforcement activity, and to connect them with qualified legal representation to assess their immigration options.
When a parent is detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, it creates enormous challenges for children in California schools. Removal proceedings can take several months or even years to complete. Prolonged periods of detention can push families into poverty and create tremendous emotional strain for both parents and children. Detained immigrants sometimes have the opportunity to be released on bond while fighting their case. This not only allows them to reunite with and care for their family, but also significantly improves the odds of ultimately succeeding in winning relief from deportation. Unfortunately, immigration bonds are often set at levels far beyond the reach of most families. In addition, only a US citizen (USC) or lawful permanent resident (LPR) can be the “obligor” on an immigration bond. That means that even when families have the financial resources to cover bond, they are often unable to post because of the lack of a trusted USC or LPR to do so on their behalf.