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Detention: Where Is My Foreign National?

Posted by attorney Elizabeth Blandon

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) usually bring foreign nationals into custody because they were discovered at the border, a local jail or in the community.

If you believe friends or family members are in ICE custody, there are a few things you can do to try and locate them. First, you can go online and locate them at this website: If you cannot locate them using this, then try calling the local immigration jail. A listing of the immigration jails can be found online at: This website provides information about each detention facility, including the address, phone number, and visiting hours in English and Spanish.

If you cannot locate a foreign national by contacting ICE directly, then call the State or Federal prison to see whether they were released into ICE custody and if so, where they were brought or will be brought upon release.

The Immigration Court system also has an automated telephone system, which provides the date and time of the court hearing. The number is 1-800-898-7180; the A# of the foreign national must be provided.

The best way to get help for a detained foreign national is to quickly retain the assistance of a qualified immigration attorney. The attorney can consult with the foreign national inside of the jail. Consultation will allow the attorney to learn about the case, and background information to prepare for the hearing scheduled in Immigration Court.

Foreign nationals who are detained might qualify for a bond. A bond is when the Immigration Judge releases the foreign national from jail. It is also possible for your attorney to ask for a bond from ICE directly since they have discretion.

An immigration attorney is the proper person to represent the foreign national at the bond hearing. It is not a good idea to have someone who practices another area of law handle the bond hearing because the requirements for a bond in Immigration Court are different than in State or Federal court. Moreover, an attorney who is not an expert in immigration law may admit a fact at the bond hearing that will harm the chances for a successful defense at a later Immigration hearing.

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