On July 1, law enforcement will begin cracking down on illegal immigrants under Georgia's new immigration law. Some parents are preparing to leave their kids behind.
Our Lady of the Americas Catholic Mission in Lilburn has a Hispanic congregation. Most of the children were born in the U.S. and are U.S. citizens. Many of their parents are illegal immigrants.
They look to Reverend Luis Guillermo for guidance.
"The idea is to assist the parents to prepare for the law - prepare for what will happen with the children if they had any problems with police, an arrest or anything," said Guillermo.
Now, the parents are preparing legal documents giving temporary custody to a family member or friend who is in the U.S. legally. If they are arrested and deported, someone will be able to take care of the children.
Ruperto De La Cruz is a notary public. He said he has already helped 30 families with temporary custody documents..
"I am surprised because I didn't know that was going to be the reaction of the people. I was thinking because maybe they would move to another state. This is a precaution. As the church explained to them - be prepared," said De La Cruz.
Reverend Guillermo tells his parishioners they need to be prepared for the worst. He also stresses they need to remember family.
"The children cannot stay here alone. They need to renew with the family with the parents," said Guillermo.
He said the temporary custody agreement is for one year.
The Archdiocese of Atlanta says any assistance their churches provide is within the boundaries of the law.
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