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ICE Detainee Locator: A Guide To Finding Someone In Custody

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Experiencing the detention of a friend or family member by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can be a distressing and confusing time. The uncertainty of their whereabouts and the next steps to help them get released can add to the anxiety. Fortunately, ICE provides an online tool called the ICE Detainee Locator System that allows you to search for individuals in ICE custody.

Read on to learn more about the following:

  • How to use the ICE Detainee Locator System
  • Tips for locating someone in ICE detention
  • Additional resources for assistance

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Understanding Immigration Detention

Before diving into the details of the ICE Detainee Locator System, it's essential to understand what immigration detention entails.

Immigration detention refers to holding individuals suspected of visa violations or pending deportation orders. ICE agents can make arrests in various locations, including businesses, homes, and courthouses.

Some common reasons for detention include entering the country illegally, pending deportation orders, or unresolved political asylum cases.

Introducing the ICE Detainee Locator System

The ICE Detainee Locator System is a powerful tool for searching individuals who are 18 years or older and currently in ICE custody. This system covers all ICE detention facilities across the United States, providing a comprehensive database for locating detainees. Whether you know the person's Alien Registration Number (A-Number) or have their biographic information, the online detainee locator system can help you find them.

Using the ICE Detainee Locator can help ease the anxiety and uncertainty that comes with having a family member or friend in ICE custody. It allows users to be aware of the detainee's status, visitation guidelines, and other important details.

Additionally, the system can serve as a valuable tool for legal representatives, providing them with the necessary information to navigate the complex immigration court process.

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How to Use the Locator System

Here's a detailed breakdown of how to locate immigration detainees using the locator system:

Step 1: Access the ICE Detainee Locator System

Visit the official ICE website and navigate to the ICE Detainee Locator page. The system is accessible to the public and can be used free of charge.

Step 2: Enter the required information

To search for a detainee, you will need to provide specific information. The system offers two search methods:

Search by A-Number

If you have access to the person's A-Number, an 8 or 9-digit unique identifier assigned to noncitizens, you can enter it along with their country of birth in the designated search bar.

The A-Number is an identifier assigned to noncitizens at the time their A-File is created. It can be found on various immigration documents such as green cards, work permits, and passports. Adding leading zeros if necessary, and inputting the A-Number will provide a more accurate match than searching by name and date of birth.

Search by biographic information

If you do not have the person's A-Number, you can still search by their first and last name, date of birth, and country of birth. It's important to enter the information accurately, as the system requires an exact match. If no results appear, try different spellings or variations of the person's name, including hyphens.

Step 3: Refine your search

In case your initial search does not yield the desired results, try different variations of the detainee's name or consider adding or removing hyphens. Sometimes, minor discrepancies or misspellings can affect the search results.

Step 4: Review the search results

When you conduct a search using the ICE Detainee Locator System, the results will indicate whether the person is "In Custody" or "Not in Custody."

  • In custody. If the search results show that the person is "In Custody," the system will provide information about the specific ICE detention center where they are held. Additionally, you will find details on visiting/contacting them, along with the contact information for the officer handling their case.
  • Not in custody. If the results indicate that the person is "Not in Custody," it means they have either been released or deported within the last 60 days. However, keep in mind that the system may not immediately reflect recent releases, so it's advisable to check back periodically. The information on the ICE Detainee Locator System is typically updated within 20 minutes to 8 hours.

Additional Considerations

Note that if you are searching for a detainee under 18 years old, their information will not be available on the system for privacy reasons. In such cases, it is advisable to contact the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations office that's near where the person was apprehended or where their immigration case was initiated. You can also reach out to local county jails or correctional facilities to inquire if they have any information about the detainee.

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Legal Rights and Considerations

Understanding the legal rights of detainees and their families is crucial when dealing with immigration issues. The information obtained from the ICE Detainee Locator can be instrumental in ensuring these rights are protected.

Here are some key considerations:

Right to legal representation

Detainees have the right to legal representation throughout the immigration court process. Having a qualified immigration attorney can greatly impact the outcome of their case. Attorneys, such as those at Hacking Immigration Law, LLC, specialize in immigration matters and can provide expert guidance and representation.

Using locator information in legal proceedings

The information obtained from the ICE Detainee Locator can be used as evidence in legal proceedings. It is important to consult with an attorney to understand how best to utilize this information in support of the detainee's case.

Privacy and confidentiality

When communicating with ICE or any other immigration authorities, it is essential to be cautious about the information disclosed. Anything said during these interactions can potentially be used against the detainee in immigration proceedings. It is advisable to seek guidance from an attorney before revealing any sensitive information.

Challenges and Limitations

While the ICE Detainee Locator System is a valuable tool, it is important to be aware of its potential challenges and limitations.

Here are some factors to consider:

System updates

The information provided by the ICE Detainee Locator System is not always real-time. The system is typically updated within 20 minutes to eight hours of a change in a detainee's status. However, delays can occur, and it is essential to verify the information by contacting the relevant facility directly.

Search discrepancies

The accuracy of search results will depend on the accuracy of the information entered. Minor errors, misspellings, or variations in names can affect the search results. It is advisable to try different spellings or variations if the initial search does not yield the desired outcome.

Privacy considerations

The ICE Detainee Locator System prioritizes privacy and may not provide information on detainees under 18 years old. In such cases, alternative methods, such as contacting local ICE offices or detention facilities, may be necessary to obtain information.

Transfers and delays

Detainees can be transferred between detention facilities for various reasons, including security considerations. The system may not always provide real-time information about planned or ongoing transfers. It is advisable to contact the detention facility directly to confirm the detainee's location and any visitation protocols.

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Role of Immigration Attorneys

Navigating the immigration law can be challenging without proper legal guidance. Immigration attorneys will play a crucial role in assisting individuals and families dealing with ICE detention and immigration matters. At Hacking Immigration Law, LLC, our St. Louis attorneys specialize in providing comprehensive legal representation and guidance to clients facing immigration challenges.

Our attorneys are well-versed in the intricacies of the immigration court process and can help detainees and their families understand their rights, navigate the system, and advocate for the best possible outcome. With our expertise and dedication, we strive to provide compassionate and effective legal support to those in need.

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