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Immigration emergencies: helping families prepare

Immigration policies and enforcement priorities are changing. Families are hungry for reliable news and sober guidance based in fact and law. Our immigration law program at Maxwell Street Legal Clinic is a trusted source of information. Its capacity to separate myth from fact and rumor from policy make it a vital resource, especially for mixed status families at risk of separation.

Nathalie Dietrich and Leah Engle present at Bryan Station High School

Best advice

The best advice: be prepared. To help, founding volunteer Marilyn Daniel, staff and volunteers have created family checklists for emergency preparedness and forms for temporary Power of Attorney to ensure that children are cared for by relatives or friends of their choice in the event of separation.

Know Your Rights

Our "Know your Rights" presentations leave participants better informed about immigrants’ rights on the job, at home and on the street. Audiences are diverse. Staff and volunteers have spoken to church members, high school students, inmates and more. Over the past year, more than 900 people attended a Maxwell Street “Know Your Rights” presentation.


We’ve also created a toolkit to help families prepare for emergencies. Families can fill in phone numbers and other information they might need if someone is detained. The toolkit includes a checklist of important documents and items that should be kept in a safe place, like car keys. Find it in English and Spanish on the Maxwell Street page, along with a video briefing.

Power of Attorney

One important document: Power of Attorney (POA) to care for children. Kentucky law allows parents to designate a trusted adult to care for their children, one year at a time. Maxwell Street holds workshops to help families fill out the form, notarize it and get background checks done.

So far, we’ve held four POA workshops—at Maxwell Street, Global Lex, Village Branch Library and Catholic Charities. Many thanks to donors, attorney volunteers and the Kentucky Bar Foundation for supporting the effort.


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