How to Help Someone in Detention

Find Someone in Detention

Did immigration arrest someone you know? Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") is the U.S. government agency that enforces the law.  ICE arrests, detains, and deports immigrants. The ICE website helps you find detained family members or friends: The website is helpful, but not always right or updated. Keep checking!


Find Your Child in Detention

Call the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Parent Hotline. Provide your child’s name, date of birth, and country of origin. It helps if you know your child’s Alien Registration Number (“A number”). One phone number is for parents who are detained, and the other is for parents who are not detained:

  • If you are detained by ICE, and separated from your child at the border, call 699# from inside the detention center.
  • If you are not in ICE detention, call 1-800-203-7001. (If you are undocumented and afraid to call, find an advocate, documented friend, or lawyer to help).


Find Legal Help

Click here to find free and low-cost legal help near the detention center: Use the state, the name of the detention center, or the zipcode to search.


Get Out of Detention

Some people can get out of immigration detention if:

  • They qualify for a bond or release from the judge.
  • They have certain problems that ICE will consider.
  • People campaign for their release.


Bond or Release 

Some people qualify to pay a bond and get out of detention while they wait for their court case. Others may qualify for release without paying a bond. A detained person can ask an immigration officer or the immigration judge for a bond or release. To qualify, they need to prove they will come to all their court hearings and obey the final order. Family and friends outside of detention can help them organize their proof. The bond is returned if they go to all their court hearings, and obey the final order. Not all cases qualify for bond or release. 


Reporting Problems and Getting Help

Detention hurts everyone, but some people have problems that ICE says it will try to solve. ICE has a hotline to report these problems. Call ICE and try to get a friend or family member out of detention if:

  • They were the victim of a crime.
  • They are separated from a child or family who needs their care.
  • They have mental illness.
  • There are other serious problems or abuse in detention.

To report a problem in detention, call 1-888-351-4024. For more information, go to:

Freedom for Immigrants is a nonprofit that helps people with detained family members. Call Freedom for Immigrants at 385-212-4842. Go to their website for more information:


Public Campaign

Family and friends can use public pressure to get someone out of detention. Check with the detained person and their lawyer, to find out how much information to share with the public.

It is helpful to show that the detained person has support from their family, friends, neighbors and general public. You can show this support through collecting petitions for the person to stay, holding vigils, talking to newspapers, radio and television stations, calling your representatives, and much more. Here is a guide:


Protect Yourself

If you are worried about detention, take steps to be ready. Know your rights if you are stopped by police or immigration agents. Make a plan with your family and friends. If you see ICE agents or enforcement activity, call the United We Dream (UWD) hotline: 1-844-363-1423. UWD can alert others.


Share this information to protect your community from detention and deportation!

Last Updated July 5, 2018