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If you have a family member who is detained by immigration, the first 48 hours are always the most scary. It is very difficult to know what is happening. Invariably, the family does not know where their loved one has been taken, or even why he or she has been taken. They won’t even know whether their loved one has foolishly signed a voluntary departure instead of waiting to speak with an attorney. [By the way, our advice is that the alien should only sign the “notice to appear” and no other document. Those words – – notice to appear – – will appear on the top right of the page being s/he is being asked to sign.]

Other times, an individual may not know what their current immigration case status is. The case may have gone on for years; they have met lost touch with their attorney, or perhaps they only were using a fraudulent notario to help them.

What can they do?

First, ICE has created a detainee locator that is fairly simple to use online: go to: https://locator.ice.gov/odls/searchByName.do

Second, for the status of your immigration case, EOIR has created a phone system where you can get information on the status of your case, etc. There are four or five different options you may need to listen to in order to get all of the information you need. Access this by dialing: 1-800-898-7180

It will be easier if you know the alien number — often referred to as the “A number” –– of the person in question. It is usually a nine digit number though older ones, were only eight digits. If yours is an eight digit number, note that you may need to put a zero before the eight digits when accessing the online portal or the phone menu.