A situation which has occurred all-too-commonly is when a close family
member is detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE").
The following discussion offers some of the first steps, as well as critical
information if you find yourself in this predicament.
First and foremost, there is a useful tool which you can use or your attorney
can utilize to check on the location of a relative. This is the ICE detainee
locator website located at:
https://locator.ice.gov/odls/homePage.do. The new tool is a recent addition and has been helpful. Of course you
will need the detainee's "A" (alien) number and country
of origin and/or their biographical information. Remember it may take
several days or longer to show up in the system so be advised when you
check it the website may not reflect current updated information.
Next, you should be aware that even if a relative is detained he may or
may not be issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) immediately. This can take
several days. The NTA setting forth the basis for the allegations and
a person's deportability or inadmissibility should be served on the
detained individual within 72 hours. Sometimes it takes longer and may
be delayed. Your family member is then provided at least 10 days for the
first Master Calendar Hearing to be scheduled in order to obtain legal
counsel. The 10 days is the minimum time period but may be shortened if
the person asks for an expedited hearing.
It is essential that a reputable and competent Houston immigration attorney
be consulted immediately and then retained, because a detained immigration
case generally raises difficult issues. Some of these will involve whether
or not the person is subject to mandatory detention, whether there is
relief from removal available, and/or if not mandatorily detained whether the person is able
to obtain bond or parole.
Bond may be granted by the immigration judge in certain cases pursuant
to Immigration and Nationality Act. The main considerations in granting
bond are (1) whether the person is likely to be a flight risk and (2)
whether they are a danger to others or the community. Certain persons
cannot be released on bond such as "arriving aliens" and persons
who have committed certain crimes. It is imperative that any criminal
convictions as well as all criminal history be reviewed by competent counsel
to determine whether bond is possible. "Parole" is another way
to be released but that can only be granted by ICE. In addition, parole
is dependent on humanitarian reasons and other equitable considerations.
Finally, the detained person often has a wide host of issues which may
be implicated. For example, they may be in need of medication or specialized
medical care. We have seen persons with mental disabilities or psychological
disorders. Obtaining good medical care in a detained environment is paramount.
Oftentimes communication with a deportation officer as well as the place
of detention's warden or other officials is necessary to ensure proper
treatment. The family member is well-advised to obtain excellent counsel
to assist in assessing the best avenues for relief, as well as dealing
with other issues, such as medical evaluations and care. A
Houston immigration lawyer is in a better position to visit detained aliens than family members who
are often very limited in the times and duration of visits.
If you would like to discuss how our Houston immigration attorneys at The
Modi Law Firm can help your family,
contact us by phone or through our
For further information on what to do when a loved one is detained, see
See also this ICE website which provides a list of detention facilities,
and can be searched here: