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How can I find someone who is being detained?

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Online Detainee Locator is an online database that provides information about where a person is being held by ICE.

There are two ways to search for a detainee using the online detainee locator:

  1. If you know the detainee’s Alien Registration Number, enter it into the locator along with the detainee’s country of birth. . The Alien Registration Number (also known as the A-Number) is a unique 8 or 9 digit number assigned to all immigrants in removal proceedings and certain other immigrants who have previously applied for immigration benefits. The A-number is found on all correspondence from immigration to a person. If the A-Number has only 8 digits, you must add a zero in front of it for the system to recognize it.
  2. You can also search by name. A detainee’s first and last names are required and must be an exact match (e.g., John Doe will not find Jon Doe or John Doe-Smith). If ICE’s records list a person’s name incorrectly, you will not be able to search for the detainee by name unless you know their recorded name. You are also required to select the detainee’s country of birth. It is optional to enter the detainee’s date of birth to further narrow the search.

The Online Detainee Locator will indicate that a detainee is “Not in Custody” if that person has been either released to the community, or deported from the United States within the past 60 days. The Online Detainee Locator System cannot search for records of persons under the age of 18.

A list of detention facilities, their addresses, and public telephone numbers can be found here.

My domestic partner/spouse called me from detention and said immigration plans to move him to a detention center in Texas. Is there anything I can do to keep him in New Jersey?

In an agency-wide internal policy memo dated January 2012, ICE clarified its policy regarding transfers of detainees, explaining that absent special circumstances detainees with “immediate family” in the area of the detention center should not be transferred to a facility far outside of that area.The memo expressly defines“immediate family” to include: “mothers, fathers, step-parents, foster parents, brothers, sisters, stepbrothers, stepsisters, biological and adopted children, stepchildren, foster children, and spouses, including common-law marriage or civil unions and cohabitating domestic partnerships legally recognized by a state or other governmental entity (e.g. District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam).”

If you have a spouse or domestic partner who is detained, you may wish to let their deportation officer know of your relationship. You may wish to ask the deportation officer to keep this information confidential, as some LGBTQ people may worry about their safety if they are “outed” in immigration detention.