Working with Child Clients and Their Family Members in Light of the Trump Administration’s Focus on “Smugglers” Practice Advisory (July 2017)

Last Updated

July 6, 2017

Both the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice recently issued memoranda prioritizing the targeting of parents and family members who helped facilitate a child’s illegal entry into the United States. Parents and family members of children in removal proceedings are thus at increased risk of being placed in removal proceedings themselves, in addition to facing federal criminal charges, if the government believes that they have “facilitated” a child’s unlawful entry into the United States.

This practice advisory is designed for practitioners representing child clients in removal proceedings or advising family members of child clients in removal proceedings. As reports of ICE arresting parents and family members emerge, the goal of this advisory is to provide guidance and suggestions to practitioners on best practices for mitigating the risk of civil immigration enforcement or criminal prosecution of family members of children in removal proceedings.


In collaboration with other nonprofits, CLINIC is monitoring developments related to the administration’s announced plans to target parents and family members of children who entered the United States without permission. This will help us develop strategies to assist affected families. If your organization is aware of a situation where a child’s family member has been targeted for enforcement due to alleged participation in “smuggling” of the child, please complete our webform to help us shape our efforts.