Business helping immigrants protect their children in case of deportation

Business helping immigrants with guardianship

Instead of closing their doors for the 'Day Without Immigrants' protest, one Austin business will help immigrant parents afraid of deportation secure a safe place for their children.

As a mom of three with one more on the way, a woman we'll call Maria is worried about who will take care of her children if she is sent back to Mexico.

"I don't want to go to my doctor's appointments because I'm scared," she said in Spanish. "My children, they stay at school and if something were to happen to me there would be nobody to come get them from their bus stop."

Maria is now getting help at Alma Gutierrez' office.

Since February 10, when ICE detained a man just blocks away, Gutierrez's phone has been ringing off the hook. She is the only U.S. citizen many of her book keeping and tax preparation clients trust.

Now, she's adding 'guardian' to her list of responsibilities.

"They're like 'Hey, this is the lady and in case anything happens they're gonna come pick you up'. And to me, that broke my heart because these kids are just more scared than anything," she said as she described meeting the children. 

On Thursday, as other businesses plan to shut down, Gutierrez's company Exacta BTS will offer free preparation of a "Transfer of guardianship" form.

The form outlines what will happen to your kids if you are deported.

A woman who calls herself Marisol says she needs to fill out that form right away.

"Just last night I had to have a conversation with my oldest and explain to him what an immigrant was. He looked at me shocked when I told him he was talking to one, and started crying, and asked what was gonna happen," she said. 

In two weeks, Marisol has an appointment with ICE agents following a DWI arrest.

"I didn't think I was ever gonna have to have that conversation," she added. "But last night was the night that I did."

It's a discussion Maria hopes she'll never have to have with her youngest daughter.

"The littlest, I haven't told her," Maria said. "But she's heard me talk and she has a lot of fear. She hears a knock on the door and she runs to hide because she says it's the police."

Exacta BTS only helped a handful of clients complete the guardianship forms in the last 13 years. Since Monday, they've helped clients fill out more than 100 of them.

 

(© 2017 KVUE)


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