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Was your loved one detained by immigration police?

In a perfect world, the United States would be more open to allowing the family members of immigrants to legally come to the country so that they can be together again. While there are some programs that help family members of immigrants legally enter and live in the United States, they do not apply to everyone. Also, some people don't know about these programs and they end up living in the United States without authorization.

What is immigration detention?

When an immigrant is in the United States unlawfully, he or she is at risk of arrest, detention and deportation by federal agents. By far, the worst part of this is the immigration detention. Immigration detention is what happens to immigrants who are awaiting the trial that will determine if they shall be deported. Immigrants can only be held in detention for a certain limited period of time. After that, they must be provided a bond hearing, in which they can be released after paying bond while waiting for the resolution of their deportation hearing.

If you have a family member in immigration detention

If you have a family member or a close friend who has been detained at an immigration detention center, you will probably want to know where they are and how to get in touch with them. You'll need to go to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement website and use the online locator system. There, you'll enter the correct spelling of your loved one's full name, his or her birth country, birth date and "A-number," which is the letter A followed by eight numbers and was assigned by the Department of Homeland Security. If your loved one is not yet in a detention center, he or she might be with local authorities, so you'll have to contact the local jails and prisons.

It's distressing when a loved one is being detained, both for you and the person who was arrested. The more you understand about your loved one's legal rights in these situations, the better you'll be able to help him or her navigate the U.S. immigration system.

Source: FindLaw, "What Families Should Know About Immigration Detention," George Khoury, accessed Feb. 23, 2018

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