Under the current administration, immigrants’ lives are more uncertain than they’ve been in many years. Immigrants of all statuses, from undocumented to legal green card or visa holders, face an increased risk of sudden and unexpected removal. The U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) appears to be determined to find and deport as many people as they can.
If you have a loved one or friend who was picked up by ICE, you’re probably very worried and wondering if there is anything you can do. There may be something you can do with the help of an immigration lawyer. The very first thing that has to happen, however, is the person must be located.
In this post, we’ll discuss some of the ways you might be able to find someone who has been taken by ICE.
Online tracking tool
ICE stores information about detained immigrants in an online database that is accessible to the public. This ICE detainee locator lets you search for people using one of two methods:
- Alien registration number: This is also called the “A-Number,” and it is found on an immigrant’s visa or green card. If you know the A-Number you can type it into the search tool.
- Country of birth: ICE categorizes people by country of origin, so you can select a country and see a list of names of people ICE has detained who are from that country.
- Full name: Search for the person by name. The trick is that the names have to match what appears in ICE’s system, so if ICE misspells a name, you may not find the person unless you happen to match the misspelling.
Problems with the Online Tracking Tool
There are two issues with the ICE online locator. One is that ICE does not update it right away after someone is taken. Your loved one may not show up in the system if he/she was detained recently. The other problem is that the system does not contain information about minor children.
If the online tracking method doesn’t locate your friend or family member, then the next step is to try to track them physically.
Go to an Enforcement and Removal Operations Field Office in your area and ask about the person you’re looking for. If the person is not in an ICE facility, they may be in a local jail. That means you’ll have to contact jails and correctional facilities in your area, either by phone or by going there.
If your loved one is in an ICE facility, then contact his/her deportation officer to get more information. By doing this, you may even be able to talk to your friend/family member on the phone, or even arrange an in-person visit. Do not discuss the person’s immigration status with the deportation officer.
If You’re Worried About Your Own Status
You may not want to contact a deportation officer personally if you are uncertain about your own immigration status. Or, you may have a hard time tracking down the deportation officer. In such circumstances, an immigration attorney can be very helpful in moving the process forward while helping you stay anonymous.
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