What To Do If Your Family Member Is Detained By ICE

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Finding out that a family member has been taken into mandatory detention by immigration officials can be a frightening time. This is particularly true if you haven't received a phone call and are uncertain of which ICE detention center they are being held in.

If your family member is detained by ICE you should contact a lawyer immediately. At the Law Office of Jason A Dennis, our experienced immigration attorneys can offer you and your family the legal advice and guidance you will need to navigate the detention process.

We will handle your case with the respect and professionalism you deserve and will work to get your family member out of the correctional facility and build a strong defense for their day in immigration court. Call our New York family immigration lawyers today or schedule an appointment online for your free case consultation.

How Do I Find Out if My Family Member is in Immigration Custody?

The deportation process starts with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). A family member who is arrested by immigration officers will be detained at an immigrant detention center.

If someone you know or care about has been arrested or detained by ICE or transferred to an immigration detention center, locating them is the first step to supporting them. You can still find someone in detention even if they have not reached you by phone. You will need the following information to find the detention center they are being held at:

  • Their first and last name
  • Their country of birth
  • Their date of birth or Alien Registration Number

There are several ways for you to find your family member once you have this information. Your first choice should be the website for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They have a detainee locator tool you can use to locate your family member. Another option you can use is contacting the Consulate of the detained person. If the arrest was recent be aware that the consulate may not have the information on file yet. You might also have a local immigrant support group or hotline that can offer you assistance.

Be aware that people may be transferred between detention facilities, frequently without any notice being provided to either family members or attorneys.

How Do I Locate a Detained Family Member if ICE Withholds Information?

Follow these steps first:

  • Ask for the reason information is bein withheld
  • Explain how you fit in the process (e.g. are you a family member, community member, etc.)
  • If you will serve as a translator for a family member who does not speak English, be sure to provide that information
  • Ask to speak with a supervisory deportation officer or the ICE Field Office Director (the person who runs ICE Detention and Removal in your area).

If you are still unable to get the information you need, contact the Consulate for their country of origin. 

Can a Family Member be Transferred to Immigration if They Were Arrested by Police?

Yes, many police organizations have an agreement in place with ICE to check the immigration status of those they arrest. If they pick up someone without legal immigration status they will pass the information along to ICE, who may take them into custody when they are released by the police. Not every police force has this agreement in place, but your local department may.

Will They Be Deported Right After Being Arrested?

Most cases will not result in direct deportation. Your family member will have the right to a removal hearing before being deported. This process usually begins shortly after their arrest, and the case will be decided by an immigration judge. That being said, your family member may face immediate removal proceedings under the following conditions:

  • They have already received a deportation order 
  • They have committed a severe crime and are not a lawful green card holder 

If an immigration judge had already ordered me deported before my arrest, is there anything I can do?

Yes, if you went to the removal hearing, you may be able to appeal the decision within 30 days of the order. If you did not go to the removal hearing, the judge may have issued a deportation order because you did not come to court.

You can file a motion to reopen the deportation order if you never received notice of the hearing, or you missed the hearing because of exceptional circumstances. You can also reopen the case for other reasons, such as being a victim of domestic violence. These actions are very complex, and you should call a skilled Staten Island immigration lawyer or legal aid organization for help.

Will They Stay in the Immigration Detention Center While They Await Their Removal Hearing? 

It depends on the situation. If they have certain convictions on their criminal record they will likely be required to stay in jail. People with no criminal conviction or only minor criminal convictions usually don't have to stay in custody. They will have the chance to pay money to be released if they don't have to stay in custody.

This bond is meant to ensure that they will come to the hearing and do what the judge and immigration enforcement ask them to do. The bond money will be returned to the person who posted it if the detainee attends their court date and follows the instructions of the immigration judge and ICE agents. Immigration bonds must be paid in their entirety before the detainee is released, they do not allow for payment plans. 

How is the Bond Value Determined?

An immigration bond will be set either by customs enforcement or an immigration judge at a bond hearing. An immigration judge will consider two primary factors when establishing a bond amount: 

  • Does the detainee pose a threat to the community?
  • Are they a flight risk and will they follow instructions from immigration enforcement?

Who Can Pay Bond?

Any U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident can pay an immigration bond. If you are paying the bond for another person they should only be someone you trust. If they skip their future court date or do not follow instructions from the judge or immigration agents you could lose out on the bond money.

Prepare for the Trial

When you have gotten your family member out of the Immigration detention center it will be time to really get to work. They will have a court date set and will need to prepare for their removal hearing. Your best chance will be finding a qualified immigration attorney in New York to help them build a removal defense. 

Hire an Experienced Immigration Lawyer

If your family member is being held in an immigration detention facility your first priority should be finding an experienced attorney to help you navigate the complexities of the United States' immigration system.

An experienced attorney will help you identify additional resources you might not have been aware of, handle communication with immigration authorities, understand immigration law, and generally guide you through your immigration proceedings from start to finish.

At the Law Office of Jason A Dennis, we will provide you with legal representation at the highest professional standard. Our experienced immigration attorneys will fight to get your family member released from the ICE facility and build a plan for the immigration court proceedings to preserve your family unity. Contact us today for an initial case consultation and begin receiving legal guidance from our expert team.

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