ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement)

What Is The ICE?

The ICE is Homeland Security’s most prominent investigative arm. The agency is responsible for promoting homeland security and overall public safety by enforcing border control, trade, customs, and immigration laws.

Brief History of the ICE

The agency was created after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Initially, the US government wanted to restructure how it was handling immigration and related activities globally. The ICE was established to help the US protect itself better from terrorism and other immigration-related security threats. The DHS was established to lead this reorganization.

Currently (since 2016), the ICE’s role has been concentrated on conducting immigration-related raids, arresting undocumented individuals in the US, and managing immigration detention centers.

ICE Division

The ICE has two main operational divisions. They include;

Enforcement & Removal

As the name suggests, this ICE division handles primary enforcement issues related to immigrants in the US. The issues include apprehending individuals who are illegally in the US. The division also arrests immigrants who violate US laws with emphasis on criminals and gangs made up of immigrants. The division is also focused on individuals who have unlawfully gained entry back into the US after being deported.

The division has also been granted powers to detain illegal immigrants in some instances. For instance, the Enforcement & Removal division can execute immigration court orders for deportation or detain non-citizens from prison after criminal convictions. If you get into trouble with immigration requiring your arrest and/or deportation, the issue will most probably be handled by the Enforcement & Removal division.

Homeland Security Investigations

The Homeland Security Investigations division is an investigative arm with presence in many US cities and globally. The division is charged with investigating transnational crime with focus on protecting American national security.

The division apprehends and punishes individuals and criminal organizations that exploit US customs & immigration procedures and laws. The division has extensive investigative powers and scope that covers a wide range of criminal activity ranging from child exploitation to sex tourism, cybercrime, financial crime, illegal trade, export/import violations, human trafficking, intellectual property theft, drug smuggling & trafficking, identity theft, human rights violations, visa security, transnational gang operations, and counterterrorism.

If a loved one or friend has been detained for immigration-related issues, they can be found using a special detainee locator tool. Family members of non-citizens arrested by the ICE are held in special facilities. However, you may not find information on detainees that are under 18 years using the detainee locator tool.

You can seek help from an immigration attorney on all ICE-related issues, from finding a detainee to reporting violations. The best immigration attorney in Texas will give you a free initial consultation, so you don’t have to worry about the initial cost before you have a solution.

What’s more, immigration attorneys have other immigration-related expertise, from seeking avenues like asylum and refugee status to temporary protected status and challenging immigration decisions.

If the ICE arrests, detains, and deports a loved one, you may have a chance of getting them back to the US if you hire a seasoned immigration lawyer.


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  • Illegal activities & indocumentation are the main reasons that result in deportation. If you are convicted of a crime (offense) or need to keep your documents in line, you might want to chat with a qualified and expert lawyer to discuss the details and strategies of your case.

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Visa Waiver Program

When traveling to the USA. for tourist purposes, or for business, you may avoid the visa process by using the VWP. This is possible for citizens of an eligible countries. Here is a list of the current eligible countries.

When intending to use the VWP to visit the U.S. it is required that you obtain an approved travel authorization before you travel. You will need to use ESTA to decide if you are eligible.

ESTA was introduced to add an extra level of security. One which provides the ability to assess in advance whether travel to the U.S. is possible, and allowing border staff to concentrate on those likely to be a risk to security.


The ESTA application will gather biographic information and will also collect your answers to eligibility questions. You must have an electronic passport to use ESTA. You can carry out the ESTA application at any convenient time prior to your travel, but it is wise to apply as soon as you start your travel plans, and before you purchase tickets. The ESTA application is completed online and at the time of writing costs $4. Should the application be approved, there is a further $10 fee. An ESTA is not the same as a visa, and if you have a valid visa, you may not have to apply for an ESTA.

Eligibility to Enter

Those visitors who are eligible to use the VWP are able to stay for under 90 days with no visa, for tourism purposes or business meetings, or conferences. the ESTA. It is important to note that an ESTA is not the final factor in deciding whether a visitor can enter the U.S. A Custom & Borders Protection Officer may still refuse entry.

Are you a citizen from a VWP eligible country? Have you traveled to Iran, Yemen, Iraq, Libyan Republic, or North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Somalia since March 1st, 2011? With a few exceptions if you have visited these countries you will not be to enter the U.S. on a Visa Waiver.

Not to be Confused with Entry Waiver

An “Entry Waiver” is not the same as a “Visa Waiver”, which we have discussed already. An Entry Waiver is a request to be allowed entry when permission has been denied because of a criminal background.

Applying for an Entry Waiver can be a complicated process and it would be wise to employ an immigration lawyer to assist in this task. It can often take six months to complete this process. One important task would be to obtain a copy of the applicants criminal record. This is known to take around 120 days. There are then several other documents to collect.

Once you have gathered all the information and completed the paperwork, the application has to be processed by the Department of Homeland security. This processing is likely to take 12 to 18 months to complete, so you can see this is not a quick process that can be done just prior to travel.


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