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How to Find a Family Member When They Are in ICE Detention

In this portion of our weekly radio show, Andres Mejer, immigration attorney, explains how you can find where your family member is in New Jersey after they are detained by ICE. He also talks about how to obtain a bond and how much that might cost. Andres explains what happens after ICE arrests someone and the steps they will experience as they are processed through the system. Google “ice detainee locator” and enter in the requested information – Andres also explains the information you need to find your loved one as well as why it may be difficult to find them with their name only. Andres also talks about the process and time expected if you have an order of deportation. Andres talks about what you MUST say in your deportation hearing IF you are afraid to return to your home country. Andres also talks about what you must do to get an automatic stay of your deportation. He explains what is the best choice to help you reach your desired goal. Finally, Andres talks about the process of obtaining a bond and what will make you ineligible.

Transcript (Transcripción):

Andres Mejer: Second part of this program what happens after ice arrest. 

Andres Mejer: First where are they going to take you. 

Andres Mejer: So it’s typically Newark Elizabeth or Mt. Laurel. They process you at a place first. Then they send you to a detention center. Most common is Newark or Elizabeth. At one point it was Freehold. At one point it was in Jersey City. A lot of those contracts have lapsed or changed and the Newark got a horrible rating when they got inspected. So they may lose the contract as well. Now for now that that’s where they’re going. But ICE can detain them anywhere in the country. It doesn’t have to be in New Jersey. How can you find out where your loved one is. It may take 72 hours. I don’t see any clients. So let’s say today you call the office your husband was detained. Even if I had the time to go see him today which sometimes is difficult depending on what our travel schedule is looks like. But even if I could I might not be able to access him. I may not be able to turn where he is because these immigrants are frequently moved within those 72 days from one location to another. And what you know for example there are Elizabeth. Anybody with a criminal record is not being detained in Elizabeth. But there’s only a small number of beds there. There’s much more availability in Newark. So chances are that’s one of the two places where he’ll be. How can you determine Google, ICE Detainee Locator. It’s right on ICE’s Web site, with the name date of birth and country of birth. It will tell you where he is at with the name and the A number if you have it, Alien registration number, begins with an A , usually nine numbers. You can determine where he is at name and Alien number is the easiest way to locate it but you’ve got to be precise. You have to use the exact name as ICE uses it. And since most Hispanics have two names like my full name is AnfredvYuav Rosenfeld Mejer. That’s what it says on my birth certificate and my Chilean passport my American passport says Andres Yuav Mejer, only one last name. Does that mean I’m a different person. No it doesn’t. But. Which you know if whatever reason I’m using my Chilean passport or I’m I’m I have my Chilean test for whatever reason. 

Andres Mejer: They might put me as Andres. Rosenfeld Mejer. 

Andres Mejer: You gotta do you gotta check all combinations to figure it out. Don’t just do it once keep on trying. Now. What is the process. If you have an order of deportation. Well the government would try to deport you as quickly as possible. If you’re from Canada and Mexico, you don’t need travel documents you’ll likely be back in your home country with less than a week. If you’re from any other country it could take two weeks or more because the U.S. government needs to get a travel document number one. Which is why you should never have your passport with you. And number two you need permission from from Europe consulate to take you back. Imagine Cuba three years ago Cuba wasn’t accepting deportees back. You know so it was it was a problem in that scenario. Now they are. So that’s so Cubans that were deported in the past for criminal conduct or otherwise and were deported and now being picked up and deported. Because now Cuba is accepting them. So these things change now. What are your options if you have an order of deportation. Well if you are afraid to go back to your country you must must must inform the Immigration Officer. Technically even your attorney doing it for you is insufficient. When they talk to you you must say I’m afraid and they’re going to ask you why they’re going to give you a they’re going to give you an opportunity to speak to an asylum officer who is going to ask you a series of questions. And at the end of the day wants to figure out are you afraid of persecution yes or no. Why are you afraid of persecution because something bad happened to you or you have a really good reason as to why it would happen to you. Who are you afraid of the government or group. The government can’t control. And what’s the reason why you think the government or this group is going to persecute you and ask to be for a protected reason race religion nationality particular social group or political opinion. So that’s what they’re looking at looking at. Can you make a claim for asylum or withholding of removal. Because if you would have been deported you’re not eligible for asylum you’re only eligible for withholding of removal which results in an order deportation which you have but you get to stay with work authorization. Incredibly important. You must say you’re afraid and then you’re going to have an opportunity to ask why. Another option is a stay of removal but for a stay of removal you have to present a valid passport. Usually it’s your family member or your attorney who files it for you. You must be for urgent humanitarian reasons but to be honest under the Trump administration I don’t know that that term has any meaning. Very few of these petitions are being granted. The third is a motion to reopen. If you were put in removal proceedings and you never appeared that’s inabsentia order. So if you file a motion to reopen that is an automatic stay. But if you went to court and you had a trial and you were denied or you took voluntary departure and never left , those are not in absentia orders. Filing a motion to reopen does not result in an automatic stay. What am I talking about. The goal is to stop the deportation. So if you file something it may automatically stop the deportation. While that something is being reviewed or it may not , every situation is different. Motion to reopen nowadays is usually better than a stay of removal but a, you know filing for asylum or something like it is the best option for most people today. But every case is different. Now what if you don’t have an order deportation what’s going to happen? Well you have to request a bond motion. You can go in front of a judge and a judge is going to decide are you a flight risk. So first of all are you eligible for a bond. The only way you’re not eligible is because of certain convictions or if you have an order of deportation you’re not getting a bond motion. You have to be detained for more than six months and then file certain certain motions in order to be able to get your case even reviewed by an immigration judge for a bond motion. So. No order deportation you will go in front of a judge and the judge will decide whether to release you and under what conditions then you’re going to have what’s called the master count and that’s like a status conference that’s where you go in front of the judge you say Your Honor this is what we’re applying for. This is what’s going on in our case your last hearing will be an individual, that’s your final court date. If it’s done if it’s denied you get an order of removal and then you can appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Very few people get out of ICE custody quickly. Bond will not be less than 5000 by law. It’s fifteen hundred but we’ve seen. 5000 minimums to as much as 100000. We’ve talked about on the show 21 savage and how it cost him one hundred thousand dollars to get out of immigration detention from Atlanta Georgia. It can take four to eight weeks. Trump remember Trevor James he’s going to be detained for almost two months and still hasn’t seen a judge, let alone the opportunity to apply for a bond. Hiring an attorney can make it quicker. Imagine that you go to court for the first time you’ve already been detained for four weeks. The judge informs you that you can file for bond and you’re not ready for it. Judge adjourns it may be another four weeks. Had you had an attorney you would have been prepared and you likely would have gotten up that day.