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Knowing how and where to start to find a minor detained by immigration is something that will help many individuals who are going through a difficult situation. Only those who suffer from it know how hard it is to see family members and our relatives detained in the United States.

The reality is that all those national foreigners who are in the US illegally are exposed to being detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE). That is why it is crucial to enlist the help of our immigration lawyers in New Jersey.

How To Find A Minor Detained By The Immigration (ICE) In 2024

Generally, to find an alien detained by immigration in the United States, a search must be conducted using the Online Detainee Locator System (ODLS). This search can be done in two ways:

  1. Through the A-Number and the country of birth of the detainee, or
  2. By means of the last name, first name and country of birth of the detainee.

Although these two ways to find a detainee are available, those under 18 years of age cannot be located by the ICE online system. Because of this, the options are reduced to looking for the minor at an ICE office, either by calling or going to the office.

unaccompanied immigrant minors

In recent years, the detentions of unaccompanied immigrant minors have become a major immigration crisis in the country. If you want to know how to find a minor detained by immigration, reading this blog will give you many keys, but to attend to your specific case and with the immediacy it requires, do not hesitate to contact our Curbelo Law firm.

What Is The Alien Registration Number Or A-Number?

The A-Number is a 9-digit identification number that is assigned to a national foreigner who applies for immigration benefits or who is subject to immigration control processes.

This identification number can start with zeros, is unique, and only one is assigned per individual. The A-Number can be found in the upper right corner on Form I-862, Notice to Appear (NTA).

What Happens If I Don’t Know The Foreign National Number?

If you do not know the alien number or A-Number, you must enter the name, surname and country of birth of the detained minor. These data will minimize the possibility of confusion regarding the detainee.

What Process Does An Unaccompanied Minor In Government Custody Have To Go Through?

In general, minors unaccompanied by their parents can spend a maximum of 72 hours detained in an immigration center. Subsequently, their custody will become part of:

  • The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and,
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

These agencies will proceed to find a foster family for the minor or contact a relative who already resides in the United States. Until then, the minor may remain in a youth shelter for approximately 56 days. 

On the other hand, adults detained by immigration will face criminal charges for illegally entering the US. After this process has been resolved, the adult will be turned over to ICE to continue their deportation process.

These scenarios are usually really confusing and complex. Therefore, it is recommended to receive legal advice from our attorney Carolina T. Curbelo.

Who Does Not Appear In The ODLS?

The ODLS does not provide information on the locations of certain individuals who have been detained. The reasons of security, protection and decisions of the agencies prevent certain national foreigners from appearing in the ODLS.

An example is minors, since these will not appear in the ICE detainee system. Additionally, certain individuals may not appear in ODLS immediately after being detained.

minor detained in the us

Can Immigration Immediately Deport A Detained Minor?

In most cases, immigration will not immediately remove a minor detained in the United States. This is because all aliens have the right to a removal hearing before being removed from the country.

These hearings will be before an immigration judge and usually begin shortly after the immigrant is detained. During these hearings, the judge will make the decision if the immigrant can be deported or if they should be allowed to continue in the country.

However, an immigrant can be immediately deported if:

  1. You already had a deportation order in the United States against you, or
  2. You have committed some type of felony and you are not a permanent resident. In other words, you couldn’t get the Green Card .

Our immigration law firm is ready to help you find a minor detained in the United States or represent you, whether it is in a master calendar hearing or in the individual hearing in immigration court. Call us right away if you will have to go to court or fear being deported from the country.

What Is The Procedure For Minors Separated From Their Parents To Communicate With Each Other?

Within 24 hours after they have arrived in the US, minors have the ability to contact their parent or legal guardian. This can be done via video call or phone regardless of whether your parent or guardian lives inside or outside of the US.

Aspects To Take Into Account When A Minor Is Detained By Immigration

  • Not every adult who comes forward to claim a detained child is considered an appropriate sponsor.
  • ORR’s call center is typically experiencing a high volume of calls, so wait times may be somewhat long. 
  • Case managers may conduct certain investigations to determine whether or not a child can be released to a sponsor.
  • In addition to the support that ORR provides for the reunification of the child, it could also help the child in:
    • Providing guidance on strengthening the relationship between sponsor and minor.
    • Getting reports of abuse or neglect.
    • Offering emotional support and juvenile justice.
    • Providing medical care.

What Should Be Done If There Are Still No Results From A Search For Detainees?

In the event that someone cannot be located through the ICE detainee system, then the local ICE ERO office should be contacted. In your list, you must place the option of “Enforcement and Removal Operations” and there you can find the offices.

What Can I Do To Locate A Minor Separated From Their Parents At The Border?

Individuals who need help locating a child separated from their parents at the border should contact ICE ERO. 

What Can I Do If An Immigration Judge Orders My Deportation?

If an individual attended their removal hearing when the judge ordered their removal, they may be able to appeal an immigration case

  • If you did not attend your deportation hearing, the judge may have ordered you deported for not attending court.
  • In either case, it is possible for the immigrant to file a petition to reopen a deportation order if they never received notice of the hearing. This can also occur due to exceptional circumstances.
  • Similarly, there are also other reasons why you are allowed to file a motion to reopen an immigration case. For example, being afraid to return to your country of origin or being a victim of domestic violence in the US.

Despite the fact that all immigration options tend to be complex, immigrants have the help of our lawyer. Likewise, our law firm has represented hundreds of aliens in their process for asylum in the United States or in counseling for asylum based on domestic violence in the United States.

Additionally, if you have been a victim of abuse, violence, or mistreatment, you may be eligible for a VAWA or U visa.

Should I Stay In An Immigration Detention Center Until The Immigration Hearing?

Depending on the immigration status of some immigrants, they may or may not be detained in a detention center. For example, individuals who have been convicted of certain crimes must remain in custody.

On the other hand, individuals who have only had minor or no criminal convictions generally will not have to remain in custody. This is because they will have the opportunity to post an immigration bond in order to be released. 

If the bond is paid, the money will be returned to the individual who paid it, as long as the beneficiary attends each court date and follows all instructions of the judge.

minors detained in the usa

Who Will Determine The Amount Of The Bond?

Generally, immigration is the one who establishes the bond. However, if you are unable to do so or if the amount is higher than what can be paid, an immigration judge can decide whether or not to set a different amount.

Similarly, an immigration judge will analyze two factors to take into account:

  1. Whether the immigrant poses a danger to the community, and
  2. How likely it is that the immigrant will not appear in court or do what immigration asks.

Whatever the case, these situations require legal representation with years of experience. For this reason, do not hesitate to contact us, since our lawyer has more than 10 years of experience dealing with these immigration matters. You can schedule an appointment with our office, located in Ridgewood, New Jersey. 

Why Does HHS Take Custody Of Children Separated From Their Parents? 

When minors have entered the United States undocumented and are not accompanied by a legal guardian or one of their parents, by law, they will be considered unaccompanied minors. 

For this reason, the law establishes that the unaccompanied minor must be transferred to ORR. HHS is required to provide care for all children until they are released to a suitable sponsor or guardian.

However, there are cases where these unaccompanied minors can stop being cared for by HHS if they:

  • Return to their country of origin.
  • Reach the age of majority, or
  • Obtain legal immigration status.

Do Children In HHS Care Have Access To A Lawyer?

HHS is obligated to comply with the requirements of the law and inform minors of all their rights, among which is that of an attorney.

How To Locate A Minor When They Are In ORR Custody?

If the child was detained by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the child is likely in the care of ORR. To do this, they must contact this agency.

How Can Our New Jersey Law Firm Help You Find A Minor detained by Immigration?

A detention process can upset any immigrant. Additionally, minors can be taken away from their family and school, which could threaten their future in the US. Therefore, it is important to contact our law firm immediately. 

  • Each step of the immigration process must be taken seriously, so only a lawyer can understand how a juvenile court will consider any request made. 
  • That is why the Curbelo Law team has helped hundreds of families understand the complex immigration steps in the United States.
  • Similarly, at our firm we understand that the rights of minors must be defended. Therefore, it is essential to have the minor in the care of a responsible adult and not in a detention center.

If you or a family member is facing this difficult situation of a minor detained by immigration, do not despair, because we are here to help you. 

Call today so that our team can evaluate your situation and you can be reunited with your loved one, or if you prefer, you can schedule an appointment to come to our office. The office is located in Ridgewood, New Jersey.