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Detention of Undocumented Immigrants by ICE

by Hamid R. Kashani, Attorney at Law
Nov 07, 2018 (last modified Jan 31, 2019)

If you are arrested by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), you may be detained.  For applicable criteria, see Release on Bond.

Where does ICE incarcerate its detainees?

ICE operates some detention facilities in parts of the United States.  Often, ICE places its detainees with county jails and private prison facilities.  To locate ICE detention facilities, use ICE Detention Facility Locator.

Do ICE detainees have the right to use telephone?

Yes. Those arrested by ICE are entitled to one (1) free local call.  After that, they may call at their own expense or by making collect calls.

The facility where the detainees are held may be far from where they or their family and friends live. So, making a local call may not be a useful option.  Furthermore, each facility has a different policy for visitation and allowing phone calls.

If you are detained by ICE and call friends and family, first ensure that they know the following information, which they would need to locate you:

  • Your A- number (the Alien Registration Number), if any.
  • Your country of birth.
  • The location at which you were arrested.
  • The location at which you are detained.
  • The complete spelling of your name, as it appears on your detainee record.
  • Your birthday.

Remember that detainees may not have access to their cell phones to look up phone numbers.  Therefore, it may be advisable to memorize some emergency numbers that may be needed, if some day they become necessary.

Note. Keep in mind that, except for attorney calls on specifically designated phones, almost all calls from detention facilities are likely recorded. Any information exchanged on these phone calls may be used against you at a later date.

Do ICE detainees have the right to call their home country's consul?

Yes. Detainees may call their home country's consulate and request assistance or a visit.  They can ask ICE to provide the contact information or help them contact their home country's consulate. The consul may assist in reaching family and friends or in retaining an attorney.

How can a person detained by ICE be located?

ICE operates an online detainee locator.  See ICE Detainee Locator.  The detainee information would be available online within a few hours of arrest.  However, no online information is available for detainees under the age of 18.  To locate a young detainee, call an ICE office near the place where you believe the young person was arrested. See ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Field Offices.  If ICE has taken a detainee to a local jail, see ICE Detention Facility Locator, you can call that particular jail or check their online inmate locator.


Related Topics:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Arrest by ICE

Release on Bond

Defenses & Remedies for Undocumented Immigrants

Expedited Removal


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