If you’re loved one is abruptly taken by the U.S. immigration authorities, it can be a terrifying and uncertain time for everyone in the family. You may be concerned about your loved one’s whereabouts, their treatment in detention and their future.
You may feel helpless and confused. But there are important ways in which an immigration attorney can help to protect your loved one – and stand up for their best interests.
1. Track them down
When U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detains someone, locating them can be difficult. They may be transferred to a detention facility out of state. They may be held at a jail rather than a detention facility. In certain situations – such as when there is an outstanding removal order – they could be deported within a matter of hours. Therefore, it’s important to act quickly to get an immigration attorney on your case. They know the ins and outs of the immigration system and have the best chance of being able to locate your loved one as soon as possible.
2. Communicate with the deportation officer
It is important to find and contact your loved one’s assigned deportation officer as soon as possible. They can help you get answers about the charges against your loved one. They can also provide avenues for you to communicate with your loved one over the phone, visit them in person or deliver them necessary supplies. Getting a deportation officer to talk to a detainee’s loved one isn’t always easy, but a lawyer can facilitate this.
3. Protect other family members
If your own immigration status is in question, you may have concerns about coming forward and contacting the deportation officer or detention center directly. An immigration attorney can support your loved one’s rights while also protecting your anonymity.
4. Get them medical care
If your loved one has a serious medical condition that requires certain medication or care, they have the right to receive this while in detention. However, the care they deserve and the care they actually receive may differ. An attorney can advocate to ensure your loved one receives the appropriate medical care while in custody.
5. Get them released
An attorney can help you explore your options for getting your loved one released from detention while their immigration case is pending. The legal process varies depending on the type of case, and it can go on for years. Naturally, you want to keep your loved one out of detention during this time.
6. Avoid bad deals
While release from detention may be your main goal when your loved one is taken, it’s important to realize that some offers for release may not be in your loved one’s best interest. For instance, accepting an offer of voluntary departure means your loved one will lose their rights to obtain asylum or cancellation of removal. This may hurt your loved one’s chances of staying in the country over the long term. An immigration attorney will understand all of your loved one’s options – and can make decisions in their best interest.
If your loved one is taken by ICE, having an immigration attorney at the ready can make all the difference. It’s critical to act quickly. With an experienced attorney on your side, you can help ensure your loved one receives the best outcome possible.