Learning that a relative has been taken into detention by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can be alarming. When the family is unable to find out where their loved one is being held, their alarm can turn into desperation and fear. With the incoming administration promising little mercy in the enforcement of U.S. immigration law, many Florida families may find themselves in this harrowing situation.
ICE maintains an online detainee locator system which families can use to find an immigrant who is being detained. It is important for family members to have certain information at hand when using the system.
First, families should be aware that the system only has information about detainees currently in custody, or who were released within the previous 60 days. Also, the locator will not provide any information as to detainees who are under 18 years old. Family members trying to locate a person under age 18 should contact their local ICE field office.
Knowing the detainee's country of birth is essential. The locator will not provide any information if you do not have this information. If you know the detainee's alien registration number, or A-number, you should be able to find them using the online locator. Without the A-number, it is still possible to locate a person using their first and last names, and date of birth.
Locating a person who is being held by ICE is usually only the beginning of the fight to get them released. An immigration attorney can be indispensable in investigating the case and preparing a legal strategy. Whether the person needs a defense against deportation, or is seeking asylum, refugee status or some other remedy, it will be essential to have someone acting on their behalf who understands U.S. immigration law and how it applies in different fact situations.
Source: FindLaw, "How to Find an Immigration Detainee," accessed Jan. 8, 2016