Every day immigrants are being detained and deported.
United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (also known as ICE) is a federal agency that, among other things, arrests, detains and deports immigrants. ICE can deport people who enter the United States without proper papers. ICE can deport people who overstay a visa or do not follow the rules of their visas. ICE can even deport lawful permanent residents (green card holders) who have certain crimes on their records. The only people who can never be deported are United States citizens.
In many counties, local police participate in programs to help ICE find people who can be deported. One result of these programs is that many immigrants are facing deportation after being arrested for minor crimes. In some cases, people are arrested just because they look like immigrants. This is called racial profiling and is against the law. Thousands of immigrants are being detained and deported because the system of immigration laws and enforcement in the U.S. is broken.
How to Help
If someone you know has been detained, there are some things you can do to help.
Gather information about your friend.
- What is his full name?
- Does he use any other names?
- What is his date of birth?
- What is his Alien Registration Number (A number)?
- What is his immigration status? (U.S. citizen, permanent resident, TPS, undocumented, other)
Locate your friend.
- If ICE (Immigration) arrested him, check the Online Detainee Locator System.
- If local police arrested him, call the county jail.
Call the jail.
- Ask what criminal charges there are (if any). What was he arrested for? (driving without a license, DWI, other crimes)
- When is his next criminal court date?
- How much is his criminal bond/bail?
- Find out if there is an immigration detainer (ICE hold) on him.
- Ask if ICE is going to release your friend or set an immigration bond.
- Be safe: If you do not have legal immigration status, do not tell ICE your name or address.
WARNING: If your friend has an ICE hold, do NOT pay your friend’s criminal bail unless ICE is releasing him or an immigration lawyer has instructed you to do so.
Find a lawyer.
- Criminal Defense Attorney – If your friend has criminal charges against him, he can hire a private criminal defense attorney. If he cannot afford to pay an attorney, he can ask the judge to appoint one.
- Immigration Attorney– If your friend has an ICE hold or has been picked up by ICE, he may want to hire an immigration attorney. The government will not pay for an immigration attorney for you.
- Find someone who specializes in Deportation/Removal.
- See How to Find a Lawyer