Has Someone Been Detained?
You may know someone who has recently disappeared. If you believe U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement was responsible, then there are resources to find out what happened and where the government is holding your friend or family member. The ICE detainee locator is the first tool you can use to see if ICE has taken someone you know into custody. Unfortunately, this search has become more relevant than ever as more and more immigrants become detainees.
Ramping up Detentions
According to the Washington Times, Trump’s Justice Department will end it’s “catch and release” immigration policy. The administration is ramping up enforcement in areas with higher rates of immigration. This means that many immigrants will face felony charges and end up in jail if law enforcement catches them repeatedly entering the country. This also means that many people will be caught up in the dragnet of increased enforcement. You may worry that law enforcement will pick up someone you know. Become familiar with the ICE detainee locator tool so you can find out if that happens.
Starting Your Search
First of all, the ICE detainee locator is not user-friendly. You may have to try several ways to use the tool before it gives you correct information. Here are a few guidelines for using the tool.
Searching by Alien Number
You can find someone’s alien number on his or her green card or non-immigrant visa. If you cannot find someone’s green card information, try looking for the number on applications he or she has filled out for school or work. If the person is entirely undocumented, try calling the ICE facility where you think he or she might be. The receptionist can give you his or her alien number. If all these methods fail, try searching by biographical information.
Search using Biographical Information
When you search using biographical information, you must enter the person’s name and country of birth. The country you enter must be where the person was born. It cannot be the place they last took residence. If this person has a common first or last name, only enter his or her date of birth instead of the name.
Tricks for Getting the ICE Detainee Locator to Work
As mentioned before, the ICE detainee locator is tricky to use. Here are some tips for getting the results you need. Search for:
- Misspelled versions of the person’s name.
- The person’s name in reverse e.g. search Juan Miguel as Miguel Juan.
- A hyphenated middle and last name e.g. Juan Arturo Miguel as Juan Arturo-Miguel.
- A shortened version of the name e.g. Juan Arturo Miguel as Juan Miguel or Juan Arturo.
- The name using the middle name first e.g. Juan Arturo Miguel as Arturo Miguel.
When the ICE Detainee Locator Brings You Nothing
Sometimes, the online locator won’t give you the information you need, but your friend or family member might still be in detention. Try calling every facility in the state where your person may have been picked up. If these places cannot help you, start checking with facilities in neighboring states. It is a common practice for the government to move people from state to state. Someone who ICE arrested in New York may have been moved to Louisiana, so make sure you search far and wide. Unfortunately, if the person you are looking for was detained recently, they will not show up in the database. Also, the search will not return results for detainees under the age of eighteen.
The Next Steps After Finding Someone on the Database
When you discover the location of the person you are looking for, talk to his or her deportation officer. Explain who you are and what your relationship is to the detainee. The officer will inform you how to contact your friend or family member. It’s important to remember that you should share as little information as possible when contacting these people. The government can use anything you say in court against your friend or family member. If the officer refuses to speak with you, you may need the help of an immigration lawyer. A lawyer can also ensure that the person in detention receives the medical care they require.
It’s important to act quickly once you discover where ICE is detaining someone. Find out if the detainee is eligible for bond. The system denies some detainees a bond hearing. You also have the ability to challenge the bond set by ICE, and a judge will decide how much the bond will be. While the judge can lower the amount, he or she can also raise it if something negative comes up during the bond hearing.
Get Help with Deportation
If you suspect a friend or family member is currently being detained by the government, or if you have found someone you know on the ICE detainee locator, you may need the help of a law firm with experience fighting deportation. Pozo Goldstein can help you, and the people you know, navigate the complexities of the American legal system.