As a Miami immigration lawyer, I have represented many clients who have been/are currently in an immigration detention facility. Many undocumented immigrants live with the fear that one day they may be caught and held by immigration authorities (most likely, the agency called Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE). Below are some frequently asked questions about immigration detention:

Why am I at risk of being detained in an immigration detention facility?

First of all, please note that not all undocumented immigrants are detained once they are caught by ICE. Because of its enforcement priorities and limited resources, ICE is more likely to release you if you have family in the U.S., do not have a criminal history, and appear to have a case for relief from removal. If you have any questions in regard to this, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer.

Is ICE more likely to detain certain individuals over others?

Yes. ICE is more likely to detain you if you have a criminal history or a prior order of removal. If you have a criminal history, you may still be eligible for bond, as discussed below. If you have a prior order of removal, ICE can use the prior order to effectuate your deportation from the U.S. without your seeing an Immigration Judge again. If ICE does not initially allow your release based on payment of a bond after when you are picked up, or if your family and friends do not pay the bond before you are taken to an immigration detention center, you should be prepared for what to expect once you are detained. If you or someone that you know is currently in an immigration detention center, you should speak with a Miami immigration attorney.

Can I ask for a bond and bond redetermination?

Yes. One of the first things you can do when detained is to ask for a bond. The bond is money that you’ll have to hand over in order to secure your release and compliance with the immigration process, as discussed below. The person posting the bond on your behalf must be in lawful status, typically either a lawful permanent resident or U.S. citizen. Bond is largely based upon your danger to the community and the risk that you will not appear for scheduled court hearings. You should talk to the deportation officer assigned to your case about your particular circumstances, such as: a spouse or children who are dependent upon you, employment history, ties to the community, and if true, your lack of a criminal record. These factors may help the deportation officer determine whether to grant you a bond. Again, if you have any questions in regard to this, you should contact a Miami immigration lawyer immediately to discuss your options.

What happens if the deportation officer refuses to grant me a bond?

If the deportation officer refuses to grant you a bond, you or your Miami immigration attorney have the right to ask an Immigration Judge for a bond redetermination. This means that the Immigration Judge will reconsider whether or not to grand you a bond. Additionally, if the deportation officer grants you a bond but it is too high for your family and friends to pay, you can ask an Immigration Judge to lower the bond. When asking the Judge to redetermine your bond, you will need to emphasize all of the factors mentioned above. Again, if you have any questions in regard to this, you should contact a Miami immigration lawyer.

What happens if I am denied without bond or cannot post bond?

Unfortunately, if you are denied without bond or cannot post bond, you will remain detained throughout the entire removal proceeding process. Additionally, if you are found to be subject to mandatory detention, you will remain detained throughout the entire process. Again, if you have any questions in regard to this, you should speak with a Miami immigration attorney.

Can I contact my family members or friends while I am in an immigration detention facility?

Yes. If you are detained, you can, and should, contact your family or friends as soon as possible. You have the right to make one free, local phone call. Afterwards, you are responsible for the cost of telephone calls, either by establishing an inmate account or by making collect telephone calls.

If you have a Miami immigration lawyer, ask your family to contact him or her immediately.

Remember: What you say in the immigration detention facility can, and will be used against you

Although being in immigration detention is scary, you should always be honest with the deportation officers that you speak with. Giving false information, such as a false name or date of birth, can come back to haunt you and can also make it more difficult for your family to locate you. If you have any questions in regard to this, you should immediately contact a Miami immigration lawyer.

If you would like more information on detention in an immigration detention facility, please contact Miami immigration lawyer Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305) 895-2500 or visit our website at www.mmurraylaw.com.