Representing Non-Citizen Parents in Concurrent Criminal and Family Defense Matters

Staff from the Center for Family Representation (CFR) will present at the 2022 National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) Annual Conference on the unique barriers that mixed-status and non-citizen families face within the family regulation and criminal justice systems.

Non-citizen parents are especially vulnerable to a specific triality of legal proceedings (immigration court, dependency/family court, and criminal court) and to over-policing (by police, by prosecutors, and by child protective services). This is especially true in situations when proceedings are filed in multiple Court systems for the same allegations. Effective representation for clients with such concurrent cases already necessitates careful strategizing and coordination. Immigration proceedings or lack of immigration status further complicate these proceedings, and create additional roadblocks to resolving both dependency and criminal cases.

CFR’s holistic representation model aims to address many of these legal issues for our clients and their families. Factors such as mixed or no immigration status, poverty, cultural differences in parenting and discipline, racism, xenophobia, language barriers, access to resources, and fear of engagement with State actors, places non-citizen families at greater risk of family separation and consequently of immigration enforcement.

Using vignettes based on real scenarios, presenters will discuss how they reconcile the vexing interplay between companion Family and Criminal Court cases while incorporating issue spotting for common forms of immigration relief and potential immigration consequences.

CFR Presenters:

  • Danny Alicea – Litigation Supervisor, Immigration
  • Sara N. Lewis – Senior Staff Attorney
  • Carol Siegel – Litigation Supervisor, Criminal Defense Practice