My loved one has been detained by ICE. What now?

Having a loved one detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can be traumatic and confusing. Information may be hard to come by and the best way to help them may not be clear. The following will help you begin the process of aiding your loved one while they are in ICE custody.

Where are they being held?

You can use the Online Detainee Locator System to begin searching for your loved one. Please keep in mind that the ODLS is not always accurate and may not be up to date.

Can they get a bond or otherwise be released from detention?

A person in ICE custody may be able to secure their release through seeking a bond. This involves paying money to the government in exchange for the detainee being released. In some (increasingly rare) cases, ICE may offer a bond to a detainee. More often, a detainee will have to ask the immigration judge to grant them a bond.

Having an attorney on your side can increase the odds of receiving a bond by as much as 33%.

If a detainee is bond-eligible, the judge will consider at least two factors in deciding whether to grant a bond:

  1. Is this person a danger to society? A judge is unlikely to grant a bond to someone who is perceived to be a danger to society. This usually includes people with a criminal history (especially violent offenses).
  2. Will this person attend all their future court hearings? When considering bond, a judge will want assurances that the newly-released person will continue to attend their court hearings. Among other things, they will consider a person’s family ties, work history, and immigration history.

Not everyone detained by ICE is eligible for a bond. Recent arrivals to the United States, those with previous deportations or those with a criminal history (especially drug-related) are very often ineligible to receive a bond.

What evidence can I submit to help my loved one get a bond?

Assuming your loved one is bond-eligible, the following is a non-comprehensive list of evidence that can be helpful in securing a bond:

  1. A complete and accurate bond worksheet, found here.
  2. An affidavit from a sponsor (usually a family member), stating that the detainee can live with them and that they will support the detainee financially while they are in removal proceedings.
  3. Proof of the sponsor’s ID, legal status and relationship to the detainee
  4. Proof that the sponsor has sufficient income to support the detainee, such as recent tax returns.
  5. Proof of the sponsor’s address, such as a recent utility bill.

Please keep mind that your specific case may require different or additional evidence. This list is for informational purposes only and is not meant as specific legal advice.

How long will they be detained?

If a detainee cannot bond out and wants to fight their case, they will have to do so while in ICE detention. While it is hard to say with certainty how long a case will last, a detained case moves much quicker than a non-detained one. Most detained cases tend to last between 6 weeks and 4 months, with some outliers on either side.

Does my loved one have a right to see a judge?

Not everyone who enters ICE custody has an automatic right to pursue their case in immigration court. Examples include those with prior deportation orders, certain criminal convictions, and very recent arrivals to the United States. However, there are exceptions for all of these examples, especially if the person is fearful of returning to their home country. Consulting an attorney with experience in working with detained clients can ensure your loved one sees a judge if they are entitled to it under the law.

Bacus Law has extensive experience providing legal representation for people in ICE detention, including obtaining a bond and defense against deportation. Bacus Law has worked either in person or via electronic communication with people detained all over the country. Contact us for a free 20-minute phone consultation.