23. LOVED ONE IN ICE CUSTODY
How come? What happened?
Your Immigration lawyer needs to know the circumstances:
- Where is your loved one detained? Since when?
- Name - gender - age - nationality - usual residence of the detained person? Does he or she have an "A" number (Immigration File Number)?
- Why was this person detained by ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)? Was it by chance, bad luck - or was ICE looking for him or her?
- Does he or she have relatives in the U.S.? How close are the relative? Where are they?
- Does he or she have any Immigration Applications or Petitions pending? What type and since when?
Even partial answers may be sufficient for an experienced Immigration lawyer to determine what can be done for the detained person and what are the chances to keep him or her legally in the U.S. However, sometimes the relative calling the lawyer knows so little, or is so confused, that the lawyer should advise the caller: "Tell your relative to call me collect - ICE will permit him/her to make such a call."
The Immigration lawyer needs to evaluate several issues:
• Is the detained person eligible for a Removal (deportation) hearing in Immigration Court? (Not everyone is).
• If so, are there any "remedies" available for this person? (If a Green Card is not possible - maybe "buying time" to stay longer in the U.S. is possible).
• Is it possible to get this person out on an Immigration Bond? (Is he/she subject to "mandatory detention?")
• If the detained person has a Final Order of Removal (Deportation) outstanding is a Motion To Reopen possible? (Or maybe just a Stay of Removal for humanitarian reasons).
• What is the real interest of the detained person: to stay in the U.S. for as long as possible - or to leave as soon as possible?
If your loved one is caught by ICE, don't despair: Deportation does not happen instantaneously. There is time for you - and for your loved one - to consult with an Immigration lawyer and to come up with a plan of action to best serve your loved one.