Your immigration status should have no effect on your ownership and access to your money. The U.S. government cannot seize your money simply because you are an unauthorized immigrant. You can continue depositing and withdrawing money in your bank account as long as it is active.

Although the government can’t simply take your money, there are some practical steps you may want to take.

1. Accessing your bank account from outside the country (or even from across the U.S.) is much harder if you use a small local bank or credit union. As a matter of convenience, you may want to use a larger U.S. bank. If you are deported it will be easier to deal with a large bank from abroad.

2. You can give a power of attorney to a U.S. citizen you trust. That gives the person the legal ability to act on your behalf to make bank transactions or to distribute money to yourself or others you designate.

3. If you are concerned you will be detained in an immigration detention facility make sure someone you trust has your banking information. Detention facilities are required to safeguard any personal property a detainee has, but you may not want to give them information about your finances.

The U.S. Constitution provides certain rights that apply to people without legal status in the U.S. That includes the right to your property. There are exceptions if the government has reason to believe a person’s assets are being used for criminal transactions. That is separate from your status in the U.S.

If you are at risk of being arrested and detained based on your immigration status, it is important to prepare for that scenario. You and your family should keep all of your important documents, including your bank information, in a place where you can get access to them easily.

This information is provided to you by Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. Contact us if you would like information about how we may be able to help you with immigration issues.