What Can You Do If a Friend or Relative gets Arrested by ICE
With the strict enforcement of immigration law in the United States, you might wonder what your world would look like if someone you care about gets arrested and taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It’s become common to hear news reports about families being torn apart because of ICE agents. In January, a mother in Hidalgo, Texas, was arrested by ICE officers at the courthouse after her son was put on trial for a charge of intoxication manslaughter. Neither the District Attorney’s office nor the county sheriff was aware of this impending arrest that left the family further separated.
If a friend or a family member has been detained by ICE, it’s an overwhelming experience for everyone involved. You may not know what to do next, but the first thing is not to panic. Learn these essential tips to understand the rights that a detainee has in immigration detention and what you can do to help:
Step 1 – Find out where your loved one is being detained
You’ll want to know the location of where your friend or loved one is being held. Start by using the ICE detainee locator website. To use the locator tool, you’ll need to enter the following information for your friend or loved one:
- Alien number
- Date of birth
- Full name with exact spelling
- Home country
If your loved one wasn’t arrested by ICE but by police, then call the correctional facilities in your area to locate them. Find out if there’s an immigration hold there, and if so, it’s likely that individual will be transferred to ICE
Step 2 – Do not provide any information outside what’s required
Anything you say can and will be held against your loved one who is being detained. Do not give any more information to the immigration officer besides your relationship with the detainee. When you visit your friend or relative, ensure that he or she knows not to say anything to an immigration officer outside of asking to make a call to your attorney. Your friend or relative should not disclose to the officer anything about the following:
- Home country
- Immigration status in the U.S
Most importantly, be sure that your loved one knows not to sign any documents that an immigration officer presents. Sign nothing without a trusted lawyer present. Doing so could forfeit the right to a deportation hearing.
Step 3: Call an immigration attorney for help.
Unlike U.S. criminal law, those under Immigration custody do not have the right to a free lawyer. However, there are plenty of pro-bono immigration attorneys who offer their counsel free of charge or at a discounted rate, depending on the circumstances. Your friend or relative can request that the officers provide a list of pro-bono attorneys they could call. You can also contact a private immigration lawyer who will defend your friend or relative’s rights and guide them through the entire detention process. Having the expertise of a professional immigration lawyer can make a world of difference in the outcome of your loved one’s plight.
Step 4: Ensure that your loved one is getting medical care
Your friend or loved one will have the opportunity to call you at certain times. When you speak, be sure that your detained loved one is receiving proper medical care. ICE is required to provide medical attention regularly, if needed, to those who are detained. If your relative has diabetes and needs insulin, for example, this must legally be provided by the detention center. When you speak to your loved one who’s detained, find out if their medical needs are being met. If they’re not, inform your attorney immediately to ensure that your loved one gets the treatment needed.
Step 5: Review offers by the deportation officer
Be sure that your loved one does not accept or sign any offer given by the ICE officers before a trusted attorney can review the proposals and provide sound counsel. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and desperate after spending time in an immigration detention center. When you speak to your detained loved one, try to help keep their spirits high. Too often, individuals detained will give up and sign something that might not ever allow them to return to the United States.
There are other options that deportation officers usually don’t make clear. In some situations, your attorney can file a petition for your loved one to stay in the United States. The lawyer who you hire will have your loved one’s best interests in mind and will be able to explain all available avenues for relief clearly.
Step 6: Consider all possible options for relief
Your loved one’s situation might apply to different forms of assistance, such as:
- Withholding of Removal
- Temporary Protection Status, or
- Cancelation of Removal
Because ICE officers will not mention all the options available to your loved one, be sure to have this conversation with your attorney.
Step 7: Find out if you can post a bond
If you want to help your friend or relative who’s detained, ask if you can pay a bond for their release from the immigration detention center. Like criminal law, paying a bond will release your loved one from the ICE facility with the payment as a guarantee of cooperation to all future court appearances and processes.
If the bond amount is denied or is too high, your immigration lawyer can help by petitioning to have the set amount or the denial reviewed by an Immigration Judge. Each situation is different, but the Immigration Judge may grant or lower the bond amount so your friend or relative can be released.
Turn to The Umansky Law Firm for Help
Immigration cases can take months or years, depending on the situation. Make sure you don’t navigate through this situation on your own. Contact attorneys whom you can trust to offer your loved one the best option possible.
The Umansky Law Firm is dedicated to providing citizens and noncitizens alike second chances. Our board-certified criminal trial lawyers have thorough knowledge and experience fighting immigration charges in Orlando. Contact us anytime by completing an online contact form or call us.