Q&A: DOES A CHILD SUPPORT OFFICE LOOK INTO IMMIGRATION STATUS?
This one is controversial. With all the legal and lay opinions on “anchor babies” and immigration reform, there is bound to be some heartfelt feelings on social policy and the welfare state when it comes to a discussion on whether state child support offices do or should investigate children’s or parents’ immigration status. During my time with the state, a parent’s or child’s migrant status rarely came up. To me the overall task of a child support office caseworker or attorney was to help obtain support for children; children who had no say in where they were born and no control over their parents’ actions.
The issue of immigrant status does definitely intersect with state benefits and impacts greatly the taxpayers who are footing the bill for an ever-increasing welfare state. But there’s only so much child support field office level staff can do or say on the subject, especially since immigration remains a federal law issue. Every special interest group at every level is entrenched in their ways over the subject and the political debate rages on. Until something changes, a family’s status will probably not have an impact. Perhaps state agency rules will change and a caseworker will be required to investigate an undocumented alien’s status, but at current trends, it’ll be a while before your caseworker says “show me your papers”. For now, the day to day work of getting support from one parent to another for support of their children regardless of status remains a local child support field office’s primary goal.