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Know Your Rights: What To Do If a Friend or Family Member Is Detained by ICE

behind metal bars

When someone you love is arrested and detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), it is natural to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and even a bit frightened. You may be uncertain about what you can do to get them out of detention, whether they will be deported, or why they were even detained in the first place.

While your mind may be racing with multitudes of questions, it’s important not to panic. Regardless of someone’s immigration status, everyone within the U.S. has rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Below, our immigration attorneys discuss some essential ways to get you and your loved ones through this process.

Locate The Detained Individual

If you think your loved one was detained by ICE, you should begin by finding out which detention center they are in and where it’s located. To do so, you will need the following information for the ICE online detainee locator system:

  • Their first and last name
  • Their country of origin
  • Their date of birth or their 9-digit Alien Registration Number

If they were arrested by police first instead of ICE, you should call all local jails and correctional facilities. From this, you should also be able to find out if there is an immigration hold on the individual, which means they will likely be transferred to an ICE detention facility.

Stay Silent

You are legally not required to give any information about the detainee when speaking with immigration officials, so you should avoid saying anything, especially detailed information such as that related to the detainee’s:

  • Home country
  • Immigration status
  • Citizenship status

If you are able to speak with your loved one over the phone, make sure that they are aware of their rights to stay silent and advise them that doing so is in their best interests. The only person you should speak with after someone is detained by ICE is an immigration attorney.

Contact An Immigration Attorney Immediately

Hiring an immigration attorney to help you through this process can make a world of difference and, ultimately, the consequences of not hiring an attorney can be devastating. One of the worst-case scenarios would mean the detained would be deported back to their home country. The fierce legal advocates at our firm will fight hard to help ensure that this does not happen to your loved one.

Get Any Necessary Medical Treatment

If your detained loved one has any medical conditions that require regular care, it’s important that you or the detainee ensures that the immigration officers know and can get it to them right away. If the detainee takes a prescription medication, ICE should provide it at no cost. If medical treatment is not being provided to an adequate standard, an immigration attorney can determine how to go about getting this individual the medical care they need.

Review Any Offers

The detainee will be assigned a deportation officer who will offer two ways of getting out of detention:

  1. Voluntary departure
  2. Stipulated removal

Both options would involve the individual having to leave the United States and return to their country of origin. Being detained can make anyone feel vulnerable and desperate for a way out, but it’s important that your loved one not give up and accept an offer without speaking with an attorney first. This way, you can ensure your loved one’s rights are being upheld and they are not being forced to leave the U.S. without a legitimate, legal reason.

Consider Your Options

While the deportation officer may not mention any other options, your detained loved one may be able to pursue relief from deportation in a variety of other forms, including (but not limited to):

  • Asylum
  • Withholding of removal
  • Temporary Protected Status
  • Cancellation of Removal

Additionally, you or someone else may be able to help your friend or family member who is detained by paying a bond. Similar to what bail is in the criminal justice system, a bond will get your loved one out of the detention center and is a legal guarantee that the individual will cooperate with all court proceedings and scheduled hearings.

Know When You Need Help

There is much at stake when it comes to immigration cases, especially those involving someone already detained by ICE. Depending on the circumstances and situation, these cases can take months or even years.

You don’t have to go through this process alone, and we don’t want you to. At Maney Gordon Zeller, our full-service immigration team is standing by ready to assist those who have been detained by ICE and anyone else in need of dedicated support and legal assistance through the immigration process.

Contact Maney Gordon Zeller at (800) 708-4399 to speak with our board-certified immigration attorneys today.

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