On August 23, 2013, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a Directive providing for the facilitation of parental interests in the course of civil immigration enforcement activities.

The Directive establishes ICE policy and procedures to address the placement, monitoring, accommodation, and removal of certain alien parents. The Directive is particularly concerned with non-citizen parents or legal guardians who are: 1) primary caretakers of minor children without regard to the dependent's citizenship; 2) parent and legal guardians who have a direct interest in family court proceeding involving a minor or child’s welfare proceedings in the United States; and 3) parents or legal guardians whose minor children are U.S. citizens (USCs) or lawful permanent residents (LPRs).

The Directive instructs officers to refrain from initial placement in detention of certain qualifying parents or legal guardians, and, if detention is necessary, to place the detained parent or legal guardian as close as practicable to his or her children or to the location of pending family court proceedings. The Directive also instructs that ICE should arrange for the detained parent or legal guardian’s attendance at family court proceedings, either in person or via video/teleconferencing. ICE is also directed to allow visitation by family to the extent practicable. ICE is directed to facilitate the coordination of the care or travel of minor children, pending the removal of the parent or legal guardian. Finally, the Directive provides that ICE officers may issue advance parole to non-citizens already removed from the U.S. in order to return to the U.S. for the purpose of attending family court proceedings related to the termination of parental rights.

The Directive is intended to keep children from entering the child welfare system when a parent is detained or removed, and to ensure that detained and removed parents are able to participate in child welfare proceedings that impact their parental rights. It does not address visitation of detained children or parental participation in detained children’s immigration proceedings.

Implementation of the directive will be channeled through Parental Rights Coordinators, who will be designated by each ICE Executive Removals Operations office to serve as the primary point of contact and expert on the subject.