Frequently Asked Questions: Immigration Detention

Frequently Asked Questions on Immigration Detention 

Please do not substitute this for legal advice. Seek an experienced immigration attorney for consultation on specific cases. Additionally, this list is not exhaustive and you can find resources at the links provided.

Why am I being detained?

ICE (Immigration Customs and Enforcement) can deport individuals who:

  1. Enter the country without documentation (i.e. those that cross the border)
  2. Enter the country with legal documentation but this has now expired (i.e. those that overstayed their visa)
  3. Is a legal permanent resident (LPR) or green card holder and has committed certain crimes

A U.S. citizen can and should never be deported

What are the programs at play in my county?

The two biggest programs that we are faced with in Florida are:

Secure Communities is a statewide program in the state of Florida and exists in all counties. Local law enforcement checks fingerprints in federal databases for everyone who is arrested. If the database indicates that someone does not have legal status in the U.S., ICE gets notice and can begin an immigration case against the person.

The 287g program exists in only three counties in the state of Florida. Those counties are Collier, Duvall and Bay. Under this program, certain police officers are deputized to act as ICE agents and carry out certain tasks. In certain counties like Collier, the 287g officers can both enforce immigration authority out on the street and in the jails. So for example, if the person is arrested for driving without a valid driver’s license, the 287g officers can ask questions to obtain the person’s immigration status. They can also ask these questions once the person is in jail.

What can I expect to happen to me?

This varies depending on your specific case, but in general the process is something like this:

If arrested by ICE: 1) you will be taken to jail or an office 2) you will be interviewed about your immigration status 3) you are moved to a detention center 4) you will have an immigration court hearing

If arrested by the police: 1) booking into jail and interview about immigration status 2) ICE detainer (“hold”) 3) criminal case could be resolved or not; ICE will pick you up anyway due to detainer 4) serve sentence (“time served” if any) 5) ICE picks you up from jail/prison and/or you stay in the same jail which acts like a detention center 5) ICE may move you to a detention center 6) Immigration court hearing

I was told I had an immigration “hold”. What does this mean?

An immigration hold or detainer is a request that ICE puts in to the local law enforcement agency that has an undocumented person and who they want to detain. This means that local law enforcement can hold you up to 48 hours, excluding holidays and weekends, until ICE picks you up.

If you have an ICE hold, you will probably be picked up and moved to a detention center.

What detention centers is ICE most likely to send me to in Florida?

Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach and Krome Detention Center in Miami.  However, ICE can send you to detention centers outside of Florida.

Link to BTC

Link to Krome

How can I find someone who is detained? What do I need?

If it’s the case that your loved one finds themselves detained, there is a tool that may be useful to you.

ICE has an online searching system to permit anyone to look up and find a person that is currently detained. You can find it here

For most accurate finds, you will need the person’s A (Alien) Number and the person’s country of birth.

If you do have only one of those two pieces or neither, you can search by having the person’s first and last names, country of birth and as an optional field, their date of birth.

This system doesn’t always yield results. Many times, when you search for an individual, they may not be in the system yet as it may take ICE a couple of days from the time they are moved from jail to the detention center to process them into this system. There’s also the possibility that you don’t have the person’s name as it appears to ICE. Many times, the police makes mistakes in inputting a person’s name and if it is misspelled, ICE will also misspell it processing this individual.

Sometimes, they only way to go is by calling the detention centers closest to you. In an ideal situation, your loved one will call you and provide you with their A# or you will have this information already.

What can I do to protect myself if I am stopped or I am already in detention?

Even if you are undocumented, you still have rights. Learn more about your rights here Spanish Version coming soon!

If you are already in detention, there are certain procedures that you should be aware of. Click here to learn more 

Remember, do not substitute this for legal advice. If you have more questions about immigration related issues, contact a lawyer or a service provider in your area.

Last revised: November 29, 2012

Collier County at FLIC Congress!

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FLIC Congress took place from November 16-18th and 6 of our members attended! We thank all of you that donated to our registration fees and believed in our leadership! Above are some highlights from our team’s weekend! Enjoy!

Additionally, Congrats to the winner of our raffle to get us to there-Alejandra Padilla from Immokalee!


NEW DOWNLOAD: Know Your Rights Training Manual

After months of arduous work compiling content, editing and designing, the “All in One Toolkit to Teach Know Your Rights and Beyond” is finally here!

For those of you that are looking to polish your skills or learn some news within the realm of enforcement and community protection, then this manual is for you! For a small donation of just $7, you can get this great resource! 

Steps on how to Download the Manual 

1. Visit our website here (you can preview the content there)

2. Fill out the form and submit

3. You will receive a thank you message with a link! It’s that simple!

Once you’ve downloaded this, please make sure to submit your feedback. With your thoughts, we will make sure that each version of this manual is better than the last!

PS don’t forget to check our website or this blog periodically for the Spanish version, coming soon in January 2013!

Florida Weekly: ICE Men Cometh

By Jordan Buckley
The cover story in the FL weekly explores both 287g and Secure Communities: the two ways that Collier County Sheriff’s Office is working together with federal immigration to deport community members.
Here are a few quotes from it; the first two are from the CCSO representatives that defended 287g last week at the Immokalee InterAgency Council Meeting on November 14th.
“Regardless of what they come in for, if they’re foreign born, we’re going to interview them.  If they come in on a traffic offense or they come in on a murder charge, we don’t necessarily care… We’re looking at your immigration history.” — Lt. Keith Harmon
“[T]here are situations when someone with only one or two driving offenses (is subject to removal proceedings).  It’s rare but it does happen.  But in the end, you’re here illegally and you committed a crime… I don’t understand why in this country that concept is so abhorrent to so many people.” — Commander Mike Williams
The article mentions that under Secure Communities — whereby fingerprinting in jails is shared with ICE — in Collier County far more people were deported for Level 3 crimes (less serious offenses like driving without a license) than Level 1 crimes (felonies).
The article also reports that 17 children in Collier County have been placed in foster care because their parents were being held by ICE or had been deported.
I’ll close with a poignant statement from Dr. Juan Puerto, family doctor in Immokalee, as quoted in the Florida Weekly piece: “In my opinion, breaking up a family is more of a crime than not having papers when you’re in this country.” 
All in all, the article is an informative and distressing read –you can download the article here