Written by attorney Elizabeth Rose Blandon

Detained by Immigration? Not for Long!

There are countless reasons why a foreigner can be detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE.) It’s an incredibly emotional situation for the foreign nationals which expose them to a complex legal system. For some, obtaining release is possible if the right information is provided to the Immigration Judge.

Unfortunately, the burden to gather all the information to obtain a bond order (order to release) falls on the family members of the detainee. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Get a good attorney

Detained foreigners require an experienced immigration attorney to help them navigate the system. It is important that family members consult an attorney who is familiar with the process and can help the family and the foreigner prepare for the bond hearing.

2. Obtain the right documents

The Immigration Judge will require documents proving that they are eligible for relief. For instance, many people who are detained by ICE have been living in the United States without authorization for many years. As a result, they may be eligible for:

  • Adjustment of Status to Permanent Resident (based on family or work relationships),
  • Cancellation of Removal (based on length of time in the United States),
  • Asylum/Withholding of Removal (based or harm suffered in their home country), or
  • Prosecutorial Discretion (which will prevent them from being deported from the country)

The Immigration Judge obviously knows that the foreigner is detained, and as such, the family may not have access to every document. However, the Immigration Judge will not release the foreigner without certain information.

3. The government wants to release foreigners

It costs money every day for the government to detain a foreign national. As a result, if a detained foreigner is eligible for relief and the correct documents are provided, the ICE officers may allow the foreigner to be released from detention even without a bond hearing.

While release from detention does not solve a foreigner’s unauthorized status in this country, it is the first victory in a long process. More importantly, it preserves the family unity that is one of the basic principles of our immigration system.

This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. Consultation with an experienced competent immigration attorney is the best way to address individual concerns

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