If a family member has been detained by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), it can be a stressful and emotional time for you and your loved ones.
However, staying calm and taking the necessary steps to help your family member as best you can is essential. They’ll need significant help, and someone needs to step up and provide it.
Here is some guidance on what to do if a family member has been detained by ICE.
Find Out Where They’re Detained
The first step is to understand how to find someone in ICE custody. You can call the ICE Detention Reporting and Information Line at 1-888-351-4024. Alternatively, if they’re over 18, they can be located online via the Online Detainee Locator System.
Be prepared to provide your family member’s full name, date of birth, and country of origin. You may also be asked about your relationship with the detained person, so be prepared to give that information as well.
Stay in Contact with Your Family Member
It’s important to stay in contact with your family member while they are in detention. Ensure they have phone or computer access, and let them know you’ll get them a lawyer. Keep them updated on what is happening outside of detention, and let them know you’re working to secure their release.
Contact an Immigration Lawyer
Once you have located your family member and assured them that you’ll do everything you can to help them, your next step is to contact an immigration lawyer.
A qualified immigration lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal system and guide you on what steps to take next. They can also help you understand your family member’s legal rights and work to secure their release. Be sure to find one with a solid track record of successfully helping ICE detainees.
Your work doesn’t stop there; you’ll need to help both your family member and the lawyer.
Gather as much information as you can about your family member’s situation. This includes the reason for their detention, their immigration status, and any previous immigration history.
This information can be helpful for your immigration lawyer to build a strong case for your family member’s release.
Attend Hearings and Meetings
If your family member has a hearing or meeting with ICE, try to attend. This shows your support and can help your family member feel less alone during the process. If you cannot attend in person, consider attending virtually if that is an option.
Know Your Rights
It’s important to know your rights and your family member’s during this process. This includes the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right to a hearing. Ensure you understand the process and what to expect to support your family member best.
Take Care of Yourself
A family member in ICE custody is a stressful and often frightening time for everybody. If you do all the work to care for them, you may also need some help and support.
Consider Community Support
Many community organizations and support groups can assist families dealing with detention. These organizations can help with legal representation, emotional support, and financial assistance.
Look for local groups in your area or national organizations that can provide support.
Dealing with a family member’s detention can be emotionally exhausting and affect your mental health. Consider seeking counseling or therapy to help you cope with the stress and emotions of the situation.
This can be especially important if you have children who are also impacted by the situation.
Be Prepared and Take Action
If a family member has been detained by ICE, staying calm and taking the necessary steps to help your loved one is essential.
First, locate where they’re being held and remain in constant contact, assuring them you’re getting help.
Contacting an immigration lawyer, gathering information, and attending hearings, will all help your family member.
Remember to take care of yourself as well, both physically and emotionally, during this difficult time. Contact a support group so you can discuss the situation with others who are also going through it, and seek counseling if necessary.