Family Court: Raising Awareness About Immigration Consequences

IDP is breaking new ground by raising awareness of the negative immigration consequences that can result from contact with the Family Court system. Like the criminal legal system, the halls of Family Court are disproportionately filled with families of color, many of them immigrants. For such families, court involvement can trigger an array of immigration consequences including preclusion from citizenship, the denial of immigration relief, and even deportation. Yet, few immigrants in family court are aware of what is at stake. Through trainings and presentations IDP seeks to change the culture of Family Court by educating attorneys, advocates, judges, and court staff about how Family Court contact can adversely impact immigrant families. IDP also advocates for systemic reforms that will improve non-citizens’ access to justice in family courts.

Resources for Attorneys on Adverse Consequences 

Best Practices Guide to Screening for Immigration Consequences In New York Family Court: A guide for family court counsel to help identify when to work with an immigration attorney in a family court case and how to incorporate immigration concerns into family court representation. Includes appendix with accompanying intake forms and client advice handouts.

Understanding Immigration & Orders of ProtectionWhen a New York State criminal court, family court, or supreme court issues an order of protection (OP), information about protected parties and the party against whom the OP is issued is automatically shared with immigration authorities. This advisory explains how this information-sharing can trigger a range of harmful immigration consequences for the parties involved.

Padilla Support Center Hotline: IDP’s Padilla Support Center provides free consultations to assigned counsel in NYC who represent respondents in child protection (article 10), family offense (article 8), and child support (article 4) proceedings. 

When Does Fingerprinting Put Your Client at Risk with ICE? A practice advisory from IDP and the NYCLU that explains when submitting fingerprints to New York’s Division of Criminal Justice Services can put a noncitizen client at risk of arrest and deportation by ICE.

Guidance on Adverse Consequences to Family Court Dispositions NY Office of Court Administration’s Advisory Council on Immigration Issues in Family Court (Oct. 27, 2017). To request a consultation, please fill out this form or call 212-725-6422.

Guidance on Guardianship Matters and Applications for Special Immigrant Juvenile (“SIJ”) Findings: NY Office of Court Administration’s Advisory Council on Immigration Issues in Family Court (Jan. 4, 2017)

Guidance on Family Court Role in U Nonimmigrant Status Certification: NY Office of Court Administration’s Advisory Council on Immigration Issues in Family Court (Feb. 14, 2017)

The Fund for Modern Courts: a series of online legal reference guides on the complex intersection of family court issues and federal immigration laws, policy, and enforcement.

Preparing Families for Possible Detention and Deportation

Emergency Planning: sample documents for families planning for the possibility of detention and deportation. Includes financial, health, and childcare planning documents, including an FAQ on New York’s Parental Designation Form. Disponible aquí en español.

Know Your Rights: materials in multiple languages to help families prepare for encountering ICE. Disponible aquí en español.

ICE Directive on Detention and Removal of Alien Parents or Legal Guardians (effective 8/29/17): outlines ICE’s policy for detaining and removing parents and other primary caregivers. Provides guidance on how detained parents/caregivers may participate in ongoing family court cases, visit with children, and arrange for travel for children following removal. See the Women’s Refugee Commission’s FAQ for a detailed explanation.

Standby Guardianship Resource

Advising Immigrants on ICE in Family Courts

ICE in New York Courts Survey: a statewide assessment of the chilling effect that ICE’s courthouse presence has on immigrant communities. 

ICE Out of Courts Campaign: find out more about the growing campaign to keep ICE out of New York state courts

How to Advise Immigrant Clients on ICE in the Courts: guidance on how to prepare clients for interactions with ICE in the courts and how to protect a client’s ability to resolve their Family Court case without interruption from ICE.

Archived Resources

The materials below have been superceded or are otherwise out of date. They are provided here for informational purposes only.

2017 Guide to Trump’s Immigration Changes: an FAQ for families that explaining what Trump’s executive orders really mean (Issued June 2017)

2013 ICE Parental Interests Directive: ICE Policy 11064.1 on Facilitating Parental Interests in the Course of Civil Immigration Activities was issued on Aug. 23, 2013. It has been superceded by the 2017 ICE Policy on Detention and Removal of Alien Parents or Legal Guardians.


IDP has developed a comprehensive training curriculum on the range of adverse immigration consequences that can stem from family court contact. Since 2015, IDP has provided trainings to legal service providers, assigned counsel, court staff and judges throughout New York.

If you are interested in finding out more about our trainings, please contact [email protected].