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Where are people detained by ICE?

Generally, there are three ways in which an individual may come into contact with immigration officers. The first is in public through a workplace raid or check point; the second is by an agent coming to your place of residence; and the third is through local law enforcement, either through a transfer from a state jail to an  immigration detention facility or at a probation check-in.

Can ICE detain me at my children’s school or my church?

With respect to public places, immigration generally avoids detention in what are called sensitive locations. These locations include schools, bus stops and school-related activities; medical facilities like hospitals and clinics; religious organizations and ceremonies; and public protests or rallies.

What are my rights?

In the event of detention by immigration, it’s important to know that you have rights. You have the right to remain silent, which means that you only have to provide your name and nothing more. If an officer tries to enter your home, you have the right to ask to see an order signed by a judge permitting their entry. You also have the right to speak to an immigration judge about your case.

What happens if I’m detained?

Once in immigration detention, you’ll generally have the option to select a voluntary return or a hearing with a judge. It’s important to know that if you sign a voluntary return, you willingly give up your right to a hearing with an immigration judge.

Can I ask for a bond?

Immigration officers have the discretion to offer a bond for release from detention. If the officer does not offer a bond or if you disagree with the bond amount, you can request a bond re-determination hearing with the immigration judge. The decision to grant a bond is discretionary, and the adjudicator will consider both negative and positive factors in your case. The amount of bond all varies depending on each case.

What can I do now to prepare my family?

There are a number of things you can do now to prepare your family in case you are detained. First, if you believe you may qualify for an immigration benefit, it’s important to apply now and not to wait until you’re already detained.

Second, create a security plan. You should choose one person you trust to handle your affairs should you be detained. Make a list of important phone numbers and contact information for doctors and emergency contacts. Have the number to both a criminal and immigration attorney available. Organize your important documents in a safe location.

Finally, it is often important in immigration cases to demonstration long standing ties to the US. Start organizing proofs that you have lived in the US for at least the past ten years. Make sure your taxes are complete and accurate. Become involved in your community or church. And most importantly, don’t break the law.

This article is intended for educational purposes only. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice and it should not be relied upon as such. Please contact an attorney before making any important decisions.

Lauren Wallis is an immigration attorney at Brewer & Lormand, PLLC. She works out of the firm’s Dallas office and defends individuals against deportation before the Immigration Court in Dallas, Texas. She also handles SIJS, VAWA, U Visas, Military PIP, Applications for Residency, Citizenship, Adjustments of Status, Consular Processing, DACA, TPS, and Asylum.