In 2016 the Migration Policy Institute report titled “A Profile of U.S. Children with Unauthorized Immigrant Parents” showed that there were 90,000 children living in Maryland with one or more undocumented parents. 75% of these children were U.S. citizens. As a result of a change in the federal government’s administration of immigration law and policy, many immigrant parents voiced serious concerns about the well-being and safety of their children if the parent was detained or deported and their children were placed in the Maryland foster care system.
As a result of this concern, members of the Standby Guardianship Project worked in conjunction with CASA, Maryland Senator Will Smith and Maryland House of Delegate Member Carlos Sanchez to introduce a bill which amended the current standby guardianship law in Maryland (covering mental incapacity and physical debilitation) to expand it to cover a parent who could be subject to an adverse immigration action, such as detention or deportation.
Members of the Standby Guardianship Project worked on drafting, amending and supporting the new Standby Guardianship Law’s passage. After the emergency bill went into effect in May of 2018, they worked on the Parental Designation and Consent to Beginning of Standby Guardianship form (the Form) with staff at the Administrative Office of the Court (AOC) of Maryland and testified before the Maryland Rules Committee on the rules affecting the new Standby Guardianship law.
Currently the Form has been translated into 16 languages including Spanish, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Amharic, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Hindi, Arabic, Yoruba, Urdu, Tagalog, Twi, Igbo, and Somali.