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How do I find someone who has been detained by ICE?

How do I find someone who has been detained by ICE?

Few situations cause more fear than learning a family member has been detained by ICE (Immigration Customs and Enforcement). There are several reasons why ICE may seek to detain a non U.S. citizen. Such reasons may include being out of status, or being subject to mandatory detention as result of a criminal conviction. I’ve received countless calls at our Orlando office about this type of situation.

The first question family members ask us is “where were they taken?” Previously, it was relatively difficult to find a person detained by ICE. This is generally followed with “why were they taken?” Fortunately, ICE has provided a useful tool to help find your detained adult family member. ICE’s online detainee locator search engine may be accessed 24 hours a day at:


The system isn’t perfect, but it’s a good place to start. Keep in mind it may take up to 24 hours for a detainee’s information to be upload into the system. This information generally remains available for up to 60 days after release from ICE custody. The detainee locator system can provide the name of the facility where the person is being held and contact information for the facility. You can use this information to contact the facility to determine what visiting hours are available.

The detainee locator default search page is in English. You may also select other languages for the search including: Spanish, French, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Somali, Portuguese, Russian, and Vietnamese.

There are two search methods which may be used on the detainee locator system.

First, you may search by A-number (“Alien Registration Number”). This is an identification number issued by DHS (The Department of Homeland Security). You may find the A-number on a Lawful Permanent Resident card (“Green Card”) or an Employment Authorization card. The A-number may also be found on most receipts issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”).

Enter the A-number and the country of birth. The system requires the A-number to be 9 digits. If the A-number has only 8 digits, simply add one zero before the number. For example, A# 12-345-678 should be entered as 012-345-678.

Second, you may search by biographical information. This includes name, country of birth, and date of birth. Be careful with this search function as it requires the first and last names to be exact. If a hyphenated name does not appear, try replacing the hyphen with a space or removing the space between the two last names altogether. Date of birth is not necessary in a biographical search, but it will help narrow your search if you are searching a common name.

Even though someone is detained by ICE, you should not give up hope. They may be eligible for a bond or the removal / detention charges can and should be challenged.

Contact us at Maney & Gordon, P.A. We have offices in Orlando, Tampa, El Paso, and Albuquerque. We have the knowledge and experience to provide you the best representation possible when dealing with ICE and the Immigration Courts.

Maney | Gordon | Zeller, P.A. - Tampa Immigration Lawyer
Located at 101 East Kennedy Boulevard, Suite 1700, Tampa, FL 33602.
Phone: (813) 221-1366.