How Can You Help A Family Member Detained By ICE?

By Published On: May 12, 2023Categories: Vlog, Immigration

Spanish Video Above Translated In English Below

How Can You Help A Family Member Detained By ICE?

As of August 2022, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention held about 24,000 migrants. Out of this group, 68% have no criminal records. Many people were in custody for small things like getting a basic traffic ticket. It is usually for things like overspeeding or going through a red light.

Finding out that ICE has taken a family member into custody can be upsetting. In such moments, understanding how to provide support and assistance becomes crucial. If they are going through deportation proceedings, knowing how to navigate the complex legal and bureaucratic processes is also essential.

Here, you will learn about detention, the steps to take if your family is in custody, and the arrest process. Explore how to find out if a family member is in captivity and the ways to assist them while in detention.

Find Out How You Can Help Your Family If ICE Detained Them

What Happens During Detention?

Detention is keeping someone in custody or confinement, often by a legal authority or an organization like law enforcement. It involves restricting an individual’s freedom of movement, usually due to legal, security, or immigration reasons. Detention can occur in various settings, such as prisons, immigration facilities, or temporary holding areas. It can also be for different durations, ranging from short-term to long-term.

Confronting such a situation can undoubtedly be challenging and emotionally taxing. However, getting ready and knowing what to do is vital in cases like these. It helps not only yourself but also the people you are responsible for. The foremost and pivotal step in navigating this trying experience is to maintain a state of calmness.

Panicking in such circumstances can significantly impede one’s ability to make sound and rational decisions. Therefore, staying calm and thinking carefully about what to do next is crucial. In line with this, it is essential to know the steps if you find someone in your family experiencing detention.

How Can You Navigate ICE Detention & Release?

When your family faces an ICE detention, it is essential to understand the process of determining eligibility for release. A series of steps designed to ensure fair treatment and consideration of individual circumstances govern this process.

Initial Review

When ICE detains your family member, whether in jail or elsewhere, they do a first check. The authorities decide whether to release the person from immigration custody or detain them. This review usually takes place within the first few hours of detention.

The review occurs at a designated immigration office. It is often located nearby, in Austin or any other relevant location. This setting allows for a focused assessment of the individual’s case.

Remember that everyone in immigration custody is entitled to this initial review. Evaluating an individual’s situation fairly is a fundamental aspect of the process.

Possibility Of Immediate Release

Following the review, there is the potential for immediate release from immigration custody. It can happen if your family member meets specific criteria. It could involve paying a bond or agreeing to particular conditions.

If released, your family member must strictly adhere to certain conditions. These may include attending scheduled appointments with immigration officials and the court.

Review With An Immigration Judge

Another stage involving an immigration judge is for those who do not have an immediate right to request a custody review. This may include a review of the reasons for the initial detention or evaluating any changes in circumstances. In this stage, the judge determines whether the individual deserves a bond.

Various factors, such as the individual’s roots in the community, influence the judge’s decision. They also consider the duration of residence in the United States and family ties, including the legal status of family members. The process includes potential avenues to rectify immigration status.

Likelihood Of Future Court Compliance

The authorities consider the probability of your family member attending future court hearings if they are released. This process includes evaluating the individual’s history, background, and any indications that they may not comply with future court appearances.

Community Safety Evaluation And Bond Decision

To determine community safety, the judge reviews any past arrests or convictions. It affects their decision on release and the determination of granting a bond and the specific amount. The amount serves as a financial guarantee that the individual will attend court hearings as required.

The ICE detention and potential release process involves a nuanced evaluation by immigration officials and judges. Balancing community safety with individual rights constitutes a complex yet fair system. Therefore, understanding these intricacies is crucial when a family member or loved one is involved.

Does Appearing In Court Result In Longer Detention?

Does appearing before an immigration judge result in a prolonged process and extended detention time? No, it doesn’t. It is a misconception that it would take a more extended detention period if you choose to fight for your case or request a bond. However, it is essential to note that the actual waiting time for a bond hearing can take a few weeks, which can feel like a long time.

While this waiting period might feel lengthy, it is part of the standard process. Local authorities are committed to ensuring a fair resolution for everyone involved. If you listen to what ICE tells you and agree to leave the country, it does not mean you will go immediately. It could still take a while, like days, weeks, or even months. They must work out all the plans and details for your departure.

If you stand up for your rights, talk to a judge, and ask for a bond, you could get out of detention sooner. Meanwhile, if you decide to leave right away, you could wait for a similar amount of time. There is no assurance that things will speed up if you agree to leave immediately.

Understanding the process and timeline associated with ICE detention can prove invaluable, especially if you are detained. Yet, it’s equally important to consider what actions you might take if you were in the position of a concerned loved one. How can you best support families who are undergoing detention?

How Can You Support Your Loved Ones In Detention?

When someone you care about gets held by authorities, the role of a person outside becomes essential. They are like a bridge that connects to influential people who could help. Doing things quickly can make a big difference for a detained person if you are in this situation.

Firstly, contacting an attorney, such as at Lincoln-Goldfinch Law, should be your top priority. This initial step opens the door to exploring avenues. It includes bond requests or even mounting a defense against deportation. Acting quickly is essential because it can make a big difference.

Furthermore, the task of gathering essential documentation falls squarely on your shoulders. Your job is crucial when you want to get a bond or fight against being sent away. The reason for this is that you can obtain essential records externally. Questions such as the whereabouts of passports, birth certificates, and critical documents demand immediate attention.

Essentially, there are two pivotal actions for individuals in such situations. The first one is to establish contact with legal professionals. The second action is to ensure the collection of all pertinent documents belonging to the detained individual. Combining legal knowledge and thorough documentation is a strong strategy for difficult situations.Help Your Family If ICE Has Detained Them And They Are At Risk Of Removal

However, before supporting your detained loved ones, you must first confirm their situation. You must know their whereabouts and conditions.

How To Contact Your Detained Loved Ones?

When a loved one is in detention by immigration, they have the essential right to call. The purpose of this is to furnish you with information concerning their situation. It may take a few hours or even a day or two to receive their call. However, it is crucial to remain patient.

Additionally, ICE maintains a website where you can search for a detained person. It is if you have their name, date of birth, and country of origin. This resource can help you find where they are arrested and establish contact.

However, for minors, the process differs slightly. The website does not have information about detained minors, as another agency handles their cases. You must be a custodial family member to confirm if a child is in detention. It would help if you were a mother, father, or someone with legal custody.

But do not worry; there are other avenues to explore. Sometimes, the consulates of the detained person’s country of origin can assist in locating and establishing contact with them. Consider reaching out to the consulate for assistance in finding your loved one detained by immigration. Remember, staying informed and seeking help when needed can make a difference in navigating these challenging circumstances.


Detention involves confinement due to legal, security, or immigration reasons, with varying durations. Maintaining calmness is vital as local authorities aim for fair resolutions. The ICE detention process includes reviews, bond hearings, and immigration judge considerations. With this, it is essential to note that facing a waiting period is standard.

Therefore, you must act quickly to secure legal help and gather necessary documents to support your loved one during detention. A skilled immigration attorney can provide invaluable assistance using their legal knowledge and experience. 

If you have additional questions about family petitions, or your specific case, you may contact us at (855) 502-0555. After a brief 10-minute evaluation of your case over the phone, we will let you know what options you have. You can also follow us on our social networks so you don’t miss our weekly broadcasts on Facebook, YouTube and Twitch.

About the Author: Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch

I am the managing partner of Lincoln-Goldfinch Law. Upon graduating from the University of Texas for college and law school, I received an Equal Justice Works Fellowship in 2008, completed at American Gateways. My project served the detained families seeking asylum. After my fellowship, I entered private immigration practice. My firm offers family-based immigration, such as green cards and naturalization, deportation defense, and humanitarian cases such as asylum, U Visa, and VAWA. Everyone at Lincoln-Goldfinch Law is bilingual, has a connection to our cause, and has demonstrated a history of activism for immigrants. To us, our work is not just a job.

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