The author just discovered the other night that guardianships are being used to facilitate the immigration process. The topic is one of great interest, since immigration is a current hot-button issue. Lost in the rhetoric are the children.

How many children? As of 2010, approximately 1.1 million children in the United States are undocumented. That’s a lot of children who may not have biological parents residing in the same country with them.

If the child is discovered without a parent, the Department of Health & Human Services has an Office of Refugee Settlement that attempts to place the child with a sponsor during the pendency of the immigration case. Meanwhile, local probate and immigration attorneys can coordinate with family members of the child – such as grandparents, aunts, and uncles – to open up a guardianship. In the guardianship proceeding, legal authority over the child may be transferred to the relative. In the guardianship’s judgment, the court can find that the child was abused, abandoned, or neglected by one or both of the biological parents. With that finding in the court order, immigration attorneys have expanded options for which to apply for citizenship for the child, ensuring that the child does not wind up getting bounced around through a series of bureaucracies only to be sent home to a dangerous or uncertain future.