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Once you're in ICE's custody, how do you get out?

If Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers approach you, you may immediately feel worried and perhaps, a bit frightened. There are any number of reasons an ICE official may want to speak with you. If you're immigration paperwork was in order when you arrived in Georgia from another country, perhaps everything will work out fine. Even if your visa is expired or some other legal issue has prompted ICE to come looking for you, there may be several resources available to help you straighten things out as quickly as possible.

If ICE officers detain you, you may be subject to removal. The more you know about your rights and understand how to exercise them, the better you can protect those rights and work toward a positive outcome. It's never wise to be confrontational with ICE officials or worse, to attempt to flee to avoid arrest. Actions like this will only make matters worse. Instead, if you know where to seek support, you can enlist the aid of someone who understands U.S. immigration law and knows how to help.

People leave ICE custody for many reasons

You may endure a long, arduous process, trying to secure release from a U.S. immigration detention center. The following list shows the most common immigration issues that typically prompt release:

  • If you volunteer to leave the United States, you may be able to re-enter at a later date, depending on your circumstances. If the U.S. government mandates deportation, you may find yourself barred from re-entry.
  • If immigration officials investigate your case and do not find evidence to subject you to removal, they must set you free.
  • Sometimes, officials may permit you to leave detention while awaiting full adjudication of your case.
  • There are also situations where you might be set free, but on a conditional basis, such as having to wear an electronic tracking device.
  • If you're facing other legal matters, such as those involving criminal charges, at some point, immigration officials may transfer you from a detention center to a U.S. Marshal or other government custody facility.

Perhaps you are not the one in detention, but you are quite worried about a spouse or other loved one. Maybe you were there when ICE officers showed up and put your family member in handcuffs. Such situations can be terrifying to those involved, causing immigrants to worry whether they will ever see their loved ones again. If something like this happens to you, try to remain calm and think about how to connect with experienced immigrant advocates who can provide support.

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