What is a family reunification package?

In my Consulta Migratoria® column, I answer the question of a reader who wishes to be reunited with his minor child who is detained by immigration authorities in the United States.

Each case is different and the answers vary depending on the immigration history of each person. Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before beginning any process.

This is the column:

I am Guatemalan and have lived illegally in the United States for the past 13 years. My 12 year old son was recently caught by immigration when he was trying to enter the country illegally. He is now in a government shelter and I want to reclaim him. In your column last week, you mentioned that a family reunification packet had to be filled out to claim a child. What information will I be asked for? Can I claim my son even though I am living in the U.S. illegally? -Juan A.

Juan, I am sorry to hear that your son is in detention. An undocumented parent can claim their unaccompanied minor child if they meet the proper requirements, including proving that they can care for their child.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for caring for children and, if possible, reuniting them with their parents, next of kin, or other person or entity qualified to care for the unaccompanied minor. Parents, whether legally here or not, have first preference in the order of priority of potential sponsors for a child in ORR custody.

A parent or legal guardian must complete a Family Reunification Packet consisting of several documents, including the following:

  1. Family Reunification Packet Application (Family Reunification Packet Application)The document requires the biographical information of the parent or legal guardian and the unaccompanied minor.) This document requires the biographical information of the parent or legal guardian and the unaccompanied minor. It also requires the address and telephone number of the child's parent and/or financial sponsor, and the address where the child will be living. In addition, it requires listing the information of the child's financial sponsor and the information of all persons occupying the home where the child will live, their health status and criminal history, if applicable.
  2. Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, This form serves to demonstrate that the unaccompanied minor is sponsored and will not become a public charge while in the U.S. The document requires biographical information about the sponsor, current address, and employment information.) This form serves to demonstrate that the unaccompanied minor has sponsorship and will not become a public charge while in the U.S. The document requires biographical information about the sponsor, current address, employment and financial information, among other things.
  3. Sponsor agreement on terms of release (Sponsor's Agreement to Conditions of Release.) By signing this document, the parent or legal guardian agrees to do several things, including provide for the child's physical, mental and financial well-being; take the child to any appointments required by the federal government, including immigration court hearings; ensure that the child reports for deportation from the U.S. if ordered to do so; and report any change of address no more than five days after the change.
  4. Authorization for disclosure of information (Authorization for Release of Information). ORR will do a thorough investigation of any parent requesting reunification with their child. For example, ORR may call your employer to verify your employment. By signing the authorization, you are giving your employer permission to release your employment information to ORR.

Documents that may be requested by the Government

A parent should be prepared to provide various supporting documents, including the following:

  1. Copy of an identity document such as a valid passport.
  2. Copy of father's birth certificate and social security number, if available.
  3. Copy of legal authorization to live in the U.S. such as your green card or work permit, if applicable.
  4. Copy of the birth certificate of the unaccompanied minor.
  5. Copy of a document showing your current address. For example, receipts for rent or telephone payments, and bank statements.
  6. Copy of your most recent federal income tax return, your most recent pay stub (paystubor letter from your current employer.
  7. List of all places where the parent has lived and worked in the last five years.

By law, family reunification must occur quickly and the unaccompanied minor must be placed in the best possible environment. However, the process can be delayed if the parent does not provide the necessary documents to ORR or they are unable to verify the information provided.

Juan, is from it is of utmost importance that you consult with an immigration attorney or a federally accredited representative. to help you with your child's reunification process. In addition, your child will likely be referred to an immigration court and you will need an authorized legal representative to assist them.

I remind you that notaries, immigration consultants, paper fillers and multi-services are not authorized to give legal advice.

For more information and immigration tips, read my blog inmigracionhoy.com.

Send your questions to preguntas@consultamigratoria.com. Include detailed information about your situation to better answer your questions.

Nelson A. Castillo, Esq. is an immigration attorney and author of La Tarjeta Verde: Cómo Obtener la Residencia Permanente en los Estados Unidos (Green Card: How to Obtain Permanent Residence in the United States). He is a past President of the Hispanic National Bar Association and current President of the Los Angeles Westlake South Neighborhood Council. To contact Mr. Castillo's office, please call (213) 537-VISA (8472).