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Deportation 101 Manual for Anti-deportation Education and Organizing, May, Detention Watch Network, 2010

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A Community
Resource on
and Organizing

Revised May 2010
Produced by
Detention Watch Network
1325 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20005
Families for Freedom
3 W 29th St, Suite 1030
New York, NY 10001
Immigrant Defense Project
3 W 29th St, Suite 803
New York, NY 10001
National Immigration Project of the
National Lawyers Guild
14 Beacon St, Suite 602
Boston, MA 02108

The Deportation 101 Curriculum
A Little History
The Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) and Families for Freedom (FFF) originally developed the Deportation
101 curriculum in 2005. In 2007, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and Detention Watch Network began collaborating with IDP and FFF to create an expanded curriculum and to present
additional trainings.
Together, the Deportation 101 team has partnered with community-based groups to train directly affected people, organizers, and service providers in various parts of the country, including New York, New Jersey, Florida,
Massachusetts, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia, North Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

About the Curriculum
Deportation 101 is an intensive, one to two-day training, accompanied by comprehensive written materials,
that offers basics on the detention and deportation system and provides guidance on how to organize communities directly impacted by deportation. Created by community organizers, legal experts, and advocates,
this curriculum teaches immigrant families, loved ones, and communities how to understand and develop
individual and community responses to this system – inside and outside the courts.
The Deportation 101 curriculum provides:

•• overviews of the criminal justice and deportation systems and immigration enforcement programs,
•• practical tips and advocacy strategies for people facing or at risk of deportation,
•• local and national resources and referrals,
•• ideas for addressing the needs of immigrant families and communities,
•• discussions on current and future organizing strategies, and
•• analyses of current immigration reform proposals.

This latest version of the Deportation 101 curriculum was published in May 2010. We’ve tried our best to make sure all information
is up-to-date. Please keep in mind that immigration laws and policies are constantly changing, and this manual only reflects
information available up until the time of publication.
We also want to be clear that the Deportation 101 curriculum is not a substitute for individualized legal advice. If you are dealing with a deportation case, we recommend trying to contact an expert for more information and help on your particular case.

A Community
Resource on
and Organizing

Revised May 2010
Produced by
Detention Watch Network
1325 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20005
Families for Freedom
3 W 29th St, Suite 1030
New York, NY 10001
Immigrant Defense Project
3 W 29th St, Suite 803
New York, NY 10001
National Immigration Project of the
National Lawyers Guild
14 Beacon St, Suite 602
Boston, MA 02108


Detention Watch Network, Families for Freedom, Immigrant Defense Project, and National
Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild extend their sincerest thanks to all
those who have contributed to creating, expanding, and editing this manual – including
former and current staff, interns, and volunteers. Special thanks are in order to the original
authors of Deportation 101: Benita Jain, Aarti Shahani, and Subhash Kateel.
Design by Kathleen Sato
Translation by Juanita Hernandez and Margarita Martin-Hidalgo

Revised May 2010

Table of Contents

Section 1:
Deportation Basics ___________________________________________ 5
Definitions___________________________________________________ 6
Immigration in the Branches of Government (Partial Chart)_________________ 10
Government Actors During Deportation_____________________________ 11
Deportation Timeline_ _________________________________________ 14

Section 2:
The Current Detention and Deportation System _ _____________ 21
Who Can Be Deported?_________________________________________ 22
Trigger Sites for Deportation_ ____________________________________ 23
Deportation Map_ ____________________________________________ 24
About the US Detention and Deportation System______________________ 25
MAP: Detention Centers in the US_ ________________________________ 26
Getting Out of Detention________________________________________ 27
Reporting Problems with Detention Conditions and Detainee Abuse_ _______ 30
Sample Letter Reporting Abuse______________________________ 32
Immigration Court_ ___________________________________________ 34
How to Help Someone Facing Deportation___________________________ 35
Key Documents You Need to Fight Your Deportation Case ________________ 40
Forms of Relief to Prevent Removal_________________________________ 42
What’s Next After Immigration Court_ ______________________________ 45
Combating Financial Consequences of
Detention and Deportation____________________________________ 46
Can I Return to the US After Being Deported?_ ________________________ 49
Analyze Eligibility for Readmission: Collecting Documentation_____________ 51

Section 3:
ICE in the Criminal Justice System_ ___________________________ 53
The Pipeline from the Criminal Justice System to the Deportation System: An
Overview_________________________________________________ 54
The Facts about ICE ACCESS______________________________________ 54
Dangerous Merger: Corrupting the Criminal Justice System for Immigration
Enforcement by the Immigrant Justice Network______________________ 57
MAP: Overview of the Criminal Justice System_________________________ 59
How ICE ACCESS Programs Interact with the Criminal Justice System_ _______ 60
MAP: How ICE ACCESS Programs Interact with the Criminal Justice System_ ___ 61
Booking at the Police Station: Know Your Rights!_______________________ 62
Immigration in Criminal Court____________________________________ 63
Immigration in Jail ____________________________________________ 65
Immigration in Prison_ _________________________________________ 67
Immigration Impact of Criminal Convictions__________________________ 68
Checklist: Immigration Consequences of Convictions___________________ 69

Section 4:
Organizing to Fight Back! ____________________________________ 71
A.R.M. CASE CAMPAIGN & ORGANIZING MANUAL______________________ 73
Table of Contents_________________________________________ 74
Dignity, Not Detention: Preserving Human Rights and Restoring Justice_ _____ 97
How Communities are Fighting Back Against Local Immigration Enforcement__ 98
Child Citizen Protection Act (CCPA) Statement of Principles and Pledge______ 101
Child Citizen Protection Act Talking Points______________________ 102
CIR ASAP (HR 4321) Press Release_ ___________________________ 104
New Agenda for Broad Immigration Reform
(NABIR) Talking Points_______________________________________ 105
NABIR flyer about Reid-Schumer-Menendez proposal______________ 107
Families for Freedom Press Release Denouncing SB 1070________________ 108
Restoring Accountability to U.S. Immigration Enforcement_ _____________ 109


Section 1:

n this section, we provide
an overview and some
background on the immigration detention and deportation
system. Later sections in this manual will go into greater detail
about how this system works and how to navigate it. Here, we want
to provide a general framework to help ground our understanding
of some terminology,
government actors, and
We start off with some fundamentals.
First, since the immigration system
can seem inaccessible due to deportation-related jargon, we share a glossary of terms. We then take a look at
the government systems and departments that deal with detention and
deportation. We include a diagram of
the branches of federal government
to help you understand the different
institutions that play a role in deportation. We also include a list of government actors that immigrants going
through deportation often encounter
– and their responsibilities.
Lastly, we share a timeline to give
some historical context for our current
political landscape. This timeline gives
a snapshot of policies, legislation, and
case law that have shaped the current
detention and deportation system
since 1980.
Section 1: Deportation Basics 5

287(g) Agreement
A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between a
local government and the Department of Homeland
Security under Section 287(g) of the Immigration and
Nationality Act. Under this agreement, ICE briefly trains
local enforcement agents, who are then granted limited immigration enforcement authority to investigate,
apprehend, and/or detain deportable immigrants. The
scope of authority that a 287(g) agreement gives to
local governments depends on the specific agreement
and is not supposed to override constitutional protections. According to ICE, more than 1,075 officers have
been trained through the program under 67 MOAs as
of January 2010.
A government term for a person with a prior deportation order that knowingly or unknowingly did not
leave the country. Many “absconders” do not realize
that they are considered fugitives and merely believe
that they are undocumented. They are one of the
most vulnerable categories of deportable immigrants.
Once detained, absconders can be deported immediately and do not get a hearing in front of an immigration judge. In 2003, ICE created Fugitive Operations
Teams (FOT) to investigate and arrest absconders. A
2008 Migration Policy Institute report found that FOTs
arrested approximately 97,000 people, 73% of whom
were undocumented with no criminal record. According to ICE, FOTs made 26,900 more arrests in the first
half of 2009.
Administrative Removal
A section of the 1996 laws used to deport certain noncitizens convicted of crimes, including “aggravated
felonies.” Under administrative removal, individuals
can be deported without a hearing. A noncitizen can
challenge the administrative findings.
Aggravated Felony
A federal immigration category that includes more
than 50 classes of offenses, some of which are neither
“aggravated” nor a “felony” (for example, misdemeanor
shoplifting with a one-year sentence, even if suspended). This term was first created by the 1988 AntiDrug Abuse Act to include murder, rape, drug trafficking, and trafficking in firearms or destructive devices.
6 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

Congress expanded this term numerous times over
the years, and most extensively in 1996. This is one of
the government’s most powerful tools for deportation
because it strips an immigrant of most choices in the
deportation process. An immigrant – including a lawful
permanent resident – who is convicted of an offense
categorized as an “aggravated felony” is subject to
mandatory detention (no bond) and virtually mandatory deportation (no possibility of applying for cancellation of removal, or any other pardons.
“Conviction” (for immigration purposes)
Immigration courts define “conviction” broadly to
include dispositions where: (1) a formal judgment of
guilt was entered by a court, or (2) (a) a judge or jury
has found the defendant guilty, the defendant has
entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or has
admitted sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilt
and (b) the judge has ordered some form of punishment, penalty, or restraint on the alien’s liberty to be
imposed. This broad definition has been held to even
include some dispositions not considered a “conviction”
by the criminal court, such as low-level violations and
convictions that are vacated after successful completion of rehabilitation programs.
Crime Involving Moral Turpitude
Conviction or sometimes simple admission of one or
more crimes involving moral turpitude may trigger
deportation for some immigrants. This immigration law
term-of-art has not been defined by Congress. It has
been interpreted by courts to include offenses which
are “inherently” evil, immoral, vile, or base. For example,
crimes which require an intent to steal or defraud (such
as theft and forgery offenses); crimes in which bodily
harm is caused by an intentional act or serious bodily
harm is caused by a reckless act (such as murder and
certain manslaughter and assault offenses); and most
sex offenses.
Criminal Alien
A term used by the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) to refer to any noncitizen apprehended by ICE
through the criminal justice system, regardless of how
minor or how long ago the alleged offense occurred or
whether the noncitizen was ever convicted of a crime.
A “criminal alien” can be someone who is undocu-

mented, someone who is applying for a green card, or
a green card holder with U.S. citizen family. So-called
“criminal aliens” are aggressively targeted for deportation after they have served their sentence. Deportation
is not part of the criminal sentence, and oftentimes
immigrant defendants do not realize that a guilty plea
may result in deportation.
Criminal Alien Program (CAP)
This is ICE’s primary enforcement program. Through
CAP – which has existed since the 1980s – ICE agents
identify and screen inmates in jails and prisons to initiate removal proceedings while people are still in
criminal custody OR transfer people directly from jail
or prison to ICE custody for removal proceedings. CAP
agents rely on informal relationships with jails and
prisons to gain access to and conduct interviews with
noncitizens in criminal custody. These interviews can
occur before or after a detainer has been issued to facilitate transfer to the detention and deportation system.
Nearly half (48%) of all noncitizens in ICE custody are
apprehended through CAP. In Irving, TX, 98% of detainers lodged through CAP were against persons charged
with misdemeanor offenses.
Expulsion of a noncitizen from the United States. People who can be deported include noncitizens (including green card holders) with past criminal convictions;
visa overstays; refugee/asylum seekers; and those who
entered without inspection (for example, by crossing
the border unlawfully). Once removed, a noncitizen
faces legal bars that prevent his or her return or sometimes they are permanently barred.
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
The federal Cabinet department responsible for the
placement of unaccompanied (i.e. without a caregiver)
noncitizen children. This program is one of dozes of
programs run by DHHS.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
The federal Cabinet department charged with “protecting” the United States. Through the Department of
Homeland Security Act, DHS absorbed most of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service and took
on its duties in 2003. DHS split immigration-related
duties between three separate agencies under its control: services (Citizenship and Immigration Services),

enforcement (Immigration and Customs Enforcement),
and border patrol (Customs and Border Protection).
ICE’s most effective tool to seal the pipeline from the
criminal justice system to the deportation system. A
detainer serves as a request to a jail or prison to hold a
suspected noncitizen for ICE to pick up or to notify ICE
when the jail or prison intends to release the person (for
example, after criminal bail is paid the case is disposed
of, or the criminal sentence has been served). Federal
regulations provide that a jail or prison can hold someone for only 48 additional hours (not including weekends or holidays) based on an ICE detainer. However,
jails and prisons frequently violate this 48-hour rule.
Basically – jail. People are detained at every step of the
immigration “process:” (1) awaiting adjudication of asylum or adjustment applications; (2) picked up and jailed
without charges; (3) pending immigration proceedings;
(4) after being ordered deported, while ICE is actively
trying to remove them; and (5) sometimes indefinitely,
where ICE knows it may not be able to deport someone
with an order of deportation.
Mandatory detention (incarceration without the
chance to apply for bond) applies to most people with
past criminal convictions, asylum seekers, and all noncitizens considered “inadmissible” (people physically in
the US, but never admitted legally at a port of entry).
Detainees are housed in over 250 county jails, private
prisons, and federal facilities nationwide, and are often
held with the general criminal population. Immigration detention is supposed to conform with Detention
Standards but they are not binding.
Detention transfers occur often from one part of the
country to another, without regard for access to family
and counsel.
Section 1: Deportation Basics 7

Expedited Removal
A section of 1996 laws used to deport many noncitizens without a hearing before an immigration judge.
Expedited removal can be effected against people the
government finds “inadmissible” at any border entry
point. Under expedited removal, individuals can be removed on an order issued by an immigration officer,
without the opportunity to go before an immigration
judge. The US Immigration and Naturalization Service
(INS) began implementing the expedited removal
provisions of IIRIRA on April 1, 1997.
ICE Agreements of Cooperation with Communities to
Enhance Safety and Security (ICE ACCESS)
Umbrella program through which ICE partners with
local law enforcement agencies to target immigrants
for deportation. Through its 14 programs (including the Criminal Alien Program, Secure Communities,
and 287g), ICE ACCESS tries to ensure immigration
enforcement at every point of the criminal justice system, including at arrest, the criminal court, jail, and
Illegal Reentry
A federal offense criminalizing anyone who enters,
attempts to enter, or is found in the U.S. after having
been deported or denied admission. People who illegally reenter after having been ordered removed for an
aggravated felony can face a criminal sentence of up to
20 years in prison.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
The largest investigative arm of the Department of
Homeland Security. ICE’s Office of Detention and
Removal (DRO) is in charge of identifying, detaining,
and deporting noncitizens in the US. ICE deportation
officers also prosecute illegal reentry cases, monitor
immigrants who are on supervised release, and search
for and deport absconders. In 2008, ICE physically
deported 385,886 immigrants. In 2009, ICE detained
around 380,000 people in about 350 facilities across
the country at a cost of more than $1.7 billion.
Institutional Removal Program (IRP)
Established in 1988 as the Institutional Hearing Program and renamed the Institutional Removal Program
in 1996. Under the IRP, immigration agents initiate
and complete removal hearings while an immigrant is
serving a criminal sentence, so that the person can be

8 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

deported more quickly upon completion of the sentence. Under the IRP, hearings happen before an immigration judge either in person at a courtroom set up
within the jail, or by a video linkup, where the person
facing deportation, judge, attorney(s), and witnesses
may be in different locations. IRP in theory lessens
the amount of time a noncitizen spends in immigration detention. In practice, IRP hearings make it even
more difficult for immigrants to assert their rights and
Intensive Supervision Assistance Program (ISAP) and
the Electronic Monitoring Program (EMP)
Alternatives to detention that ensure close and frequent contact with someone granted supervised
release. A person subjected to these programs typically has to make regular visits to an ICE officer or
subcontractor and check in through telephone calls.
Many people are also required to wear an ankle bracelet, and are subject to curfew and other reporting
requirements. These programs are frequently utilized
on people who have final orders of removal but who
ICE cannot effectuate deportation against (for example, because of lack of travel documents, or a country’s
refusal or inability to accept an immigrant).
Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder)
A noncitizen who has been lawfully admitted to the
United States to live and work permanently, but still
subject to deportation upon violation of the immigration laws. A “green card” is the identification card
for lawful permanent residents, but this status is not
lost just because the physical card expires or gets
National Crime Information Center (Ncic) Database
Nationwide FBI-operated computerized database,
which was originally created to enable federal, state,
and local law enforcement to identify suspected criminals with outstanding warrants. In 2002, Attorney General Ashcroft authorized using this criminal tool for
civil immigration purposes, by entering the names of
absconders and individuals who did not comply with
special registration into the NCIC system; the legality
of this practice is being challenged.
An individual who was born outside of the US unless
the person acquired or derived US citizenship or

naturalized. Noncitizens include green card holders, refugees, asylees, temporary visitors, and the
Acquisition of US citizenship occurs when a person is
born outside of the US but has a US parent(s) at birth
and thus automatically acquires citizenship.
Derivation of US citizenship occurs when a person is
born outside of the US to noncitizen parent(s) but automatically becomes a citizen when the person’s parent(s)
became US citizen(s) while the person is still a minor.
Naturalization occurs when a person is born outside of
the US but lawfully immigrated to the US and later goes
through the process of applying for citizenship, passing
a civics test, and being sworn in.
Post-Conviction Relief
Noncitizens convicted of crimes that affect their immigration status may seek post-conviction relief, ways to
remove or alter your criminal conviction so that it does
not affect your immigration status.
Prosecutorial Discretion
The authority of the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to refrain from placing a potentially
deportable person in deportation proceedings; suspend or even terminate a deportation proceeding;
postpone a deportation; release someone from detention; or de-prioritize the enforcement of immigration laws against someone because it does not serve
enforcement interests.
An informal term used to describe operations in which
the Department of Homeland Security questions and/
or arrests people whom they suspect may be deportable en masse. Typically, DHS claims to be looking for
particular people and then arrests many more that
agents happen to encounter. Raids have resulted in
local crises as children have been left waiting for their
detained parents and families have been permanently
separated. Reports abound of ICE picking up U.S. citizens and non-deportable people. In several cases, local
governments – including
at least one which cooperated with DHS during
a raid – have complained
about misinformation and
sloppy and indiscriminate
work by DHS agents.

Secure Communities
An ICE ACCESS program that checks a person’s fingerprints against both immigration and criminal databases at the time of arrest or booking. If a person is
matched to a record indicating some immigration history, ICE and the jail are automatically notified. ICE then
decides what enforcement action will be taken, including whether a detainer will be issued. The process from
fingerprint submission to issuance of a detainer takes
approximately 4 hours. ICE enters into agreements
with the State Identification Bureaus, which process
fingerprints and then provides Standard Operating
Procedures to the police and jail. By January 2010, this
program was active in 116 jurisdictions in 16 states. ICE
plans to have Secure Communities implemented in
every state by 2013.
An informal term to describe noncitizens who have
no government authorization to be in this country.
Undocumented people include people who crossed
the border without permission, people who came on
valid visas but then remained past their authorized
period of stay, and former green card holders who
were ordered deported. An “undocumented” person
might have received work authorization (for example,
upon filing an application for asylum or other status),
but that does not necessarily mean s/he is considered
“documented” for immigration purposes.
The setting aside of a conviction in criminal court. For
a vacatur to no longer be a conviction for immigration
purposes, it must be for a procedural or substantive
defect in the underlying criminal proceeding. ICE can
still deport someone for a vacated conviction if the
vacatur is for post-conviction reasons, such as rehabilitation or to avoid immigration consequences.
Voluntary Departure
DHS may, in its discretion, allow a person to depart
from the US at his or her own expense in lieu of being
subject to proceedings. DHS will allow someone no
more than 120 days to depart the US. If the person fails
to depart, s/he will be subject to fines and a 10 year
period of ineligibility for other forms of relief. Immigrants with aggravated felonies are ineligible for voluntary departure.

Section 1: Deportation Basics 9

Immigration in the Branches of Government (Partial Chart)
Executive US President & Federal Officers
Department Of Homeland Security (Dhs)

Secretary Janet Napolitano

Customs &
Border Patrol
Border patrol and
customs at ports
of entry (airport,
seaport, etc.).
Refers deportation
cases to ICE.

U.S. Citizenship
& Immigration
Services (USCIS)
for adjustment,
naturalization, etc.
Refers deportation
cases to ICE.

& Customs
Enforcement (ICE)
Carries out enforcement
actions, issues detainer
(“hold”) and Notice to
Appear (NTA). Decides
to detain or release
immigrants from

Detention &
Has deportation
officers assigned to
manage each case.
Contracts with Bureau
of Prisons, private prison
companies, and county
jails for detention space.

Legislative Congress
Senator (2 per state)

House of
(1 per district)

Call the Switchboard: 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121
Congress writes and passes laws. Each elected official has:
Legislative Office (D.C.)

Department of Justice

Attorney General Eric Holder

Executive Office of
Immigration Review
Chief Judge Brian M. O’Leary
Call the EOIR
hotline for general
information about
your deportation
case: (800) 898-7180

Judge (IJ)
Part of the
court system.
IJ reviews

Department of
Health & Human
Services (DHHS)

Secretary Kathleen
Office of
Responsible for
placement of

Board of
Appeals (BIA)
Appeals court of
the immigration
court system.
(703) 305-0289

Judiciary Federal Judges
District Court
Hears habeas
corpus petitions
challenging detention
citizenship claims).

Circuit Court of
Reviews appeals filed
within 30 days of BIA
decision, where person
challenges that she or he
is a noncitizen, deportable
or excludable; and appeals
of District Court decisions.
Many people with
convictions are barred from
review here.

Immigration Legislative Aide works on public and private bills.
District Office (Local)

Immigration Caseworker investigates specific cases,
refers matters to DC.
Find out who represents your district or state!

Reviews Court of Appeals
decisions that it chooses to accept.

Government Actors During Deportation
This is a list of people immigrants are likely to encounter during the deportation process. This is not a complete list. It is a list
of people who are often involved in detention or deportation court cases. 1

Ice Field Offices And Detention Facilities
Government Actor


ICE Deportation Officer (DO)

•• They know whether and when an immigrant will be detained, transferred, or
deported and may make or be involved in custody determinations.

(Each person in removal proceedings
or detention is assigned a DO)

•• They can deal with complaints about detention conditions, including family

Special Agents and other Officers
from Detention and Removal Office
(DRO) and Investigations Office

•• They arrest and detain immigrants.
•• They begin the deportation process.
•• They gather information and conduct surveillance in preparation for deporta-

visitation, legal access, and medical and mental health services.

tions and raids.

Special Agent-in-Charge

•• They make custody decisions, and at times are in charge of making arrangements for deportation.

•• During specific enforcement actions, a Special Agent-in-Charge may oversee
and coordinate with other local agencies.


•• They are supervisory officers who may be in charge of a specific facility.
•• They make custody decisions and have the power to respond to abusive
detention conditions.

Field Office Directors (FOD)

•• They are the head honchos who control the direction of their district office
and supervise the operations of their region.

•• They supervise ICE employees’ custody determinations.
•• They have the power to exercise prosecutorial discretion, including whether
to begin removal proceedings and whether to grant deferred action.

•• They have the power to respond to complaints about detention conditions
and mistreatment.

•• They can lift ICE detainers.
•• They work with DHS attorneys in deciding whether to appeal an immigration
court decision.

•• They plan “special projects,” including enforcement actions.
•• They work with Department of Justice attorneys to represent the government
in federal appeals.

•• They report to ICE headquarters.
Criminal Alien Program Officers

•• They interview suspected noncitizens in jail to determine if they should be
referred for deportation proceedings.

1	 It does not include, for example, personnel at the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) and Customs
and Border Protection (CBP), who serve related functions. For example, CIS reviews naturalization, asylum, and adjustment of status application
and can issue Notices to Appear (the immigration charging document). More information can be found at

Section 1: Deportation Basics 11

Government Actor


Officials at ICE headquarters
in Washington, D.C.

•• The current ICE Assistant Secretary is John Morton.
•• All I-9 audits and workplace raids are run by Worksite Enforcement initiative located at
ICE headquarters.

•• This office is also responsible for 287(g), Secure Communities, and Criminal Alien Program agreements and detention.

•• This office is the headquarters for Immigration Court Trial Attorneys.
•• This office houses the Post Order Custody Review (POCR) Unit. The Unit reviews custody of immigrants who have been ordered removed or deported but whom the government cannot deport (for example, because their country of origin will not accept
return). This Unit becomes most directly involved in high-profile indefinite detention

Government Actor


Customs and Border Patrol
(CBP) Agents

•• Currently Alan Bersin is the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
•• CBP agents monitor all ports of entry (for example, airports, borders, shipping ports)
and 100 miles from the border in the interior.

•• They conduct interviews of all noncitizens (including green card holders) at ports of
entry for purposes of deportation.

•• They deport noncitizens in “administrative removals.”
Office of Refugee and
Resettlement (within the
Department of Health &
Human Services)

•• This office handles detention and custody issues of minors, including custody determi-

Department of Immigrant
Health Services (DIHS)

•• Among other activities, DIHS handles most detainee health issues and may monitor

Federal and local
enforcement agencies

•• Other federal and local agents often coordinate with ICE (for example from Social secu-

nations and arrangements.

other special health issues in detention centers. For example, DIHS “monitored” pregnant women who were arrested and detained after a raid in Maryland. Sometimes, ICE
uses private medical contractors.
rity, FBI, US Marshals, local police, probation, parole, and others.)

12 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

Trial Attorneys or Office of
Chief Counsel (TA or OCC)

• These are Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees who represent the gov-

Immigration Judge (IJ)

• These are Department of Justice (DOJ) employees appointed by the Attorney General to

ernment in a removal case, similar to a prosecutor.

the Executive Office of Immigration Review, who “run” immigration courtrooms.

• Immigration Judges decide whether an immigrant is eligible for bond and if eligible,
whether to grant bond. They decide whether an immigrant is removable, deportable,
or eligible for relief from deportation. They take evidence, including testimony, and read
court briefs. They also can order deportation or grant relief from deportation.
Members of Board of
Immigration Appeals (BIA)

• They are DOJ employees appointed by the Attorney General to the Executive Office of
Immigration Review.

• They review appeals of decisions made by the IJ and other matters, including motions
to reopen immigration cases.

DOJ’s Office of Immigration
Litigation (OIL)

• These are the lawyers representing the government in federal appeals regarding deten-

US Attorneys and Assistant
US Attorneys (USA and

• In most Federal District Court and Court of Appeals cases, OIL represents the govern-

Solicitor General

• When a case goes to the Supreme Court, the Solicitor General usually represents the

tion or deportation cases.
ment; however, USAs also represent the government in some jurisdictions (for example,
the Second Circuit district and appeals courts).

District Court Magistrate or

• These judges decide cases in federal district court, including habeas corpus petitions

Courts of Appeals Judges

• These judges decide cases in Federal Courts of Appeals, including petitions for review

challenging the detention of individuals.
challenging orders of removal and deportation and appeals from federal district courts.
This process happens usually in a panel of three judges.

Supreme Court Justices

• The nine Justices of the US Supreme Court decide on civil and criminal cases. They generally choose to accept and review a very limited number of cases.

Section 1: Deportation Basics 13

Deportation Timeline


Immigration Reform and Control Act (“Amnesty”)
Under President Ronald Reagan, Congress passes the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), eventually
giving legal permanent residency to 2.7 million undocumented immigrants who continuously resided in the
US since before January 1, 1982, or who were employed in seasonal agricultural work prior to May, 1986. IRCA
is a trade-off because it also creates new employer sanctions (penalties) for employers who hired immigrants
without employment authorization.


Alien Criminal Apprehension Program (ACAP)
In 1986, the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) begins a pilot of the ACAP program. Under ACAP, INS
works with local jails to identify immigrants who may be deportable and institute deportation proceedings.
Today, this program, known as the Criminal Alien Program, is responsible for identifying almost half of
all people in immigration detention and is a core example of the merging of the immigration and criminal
justice systems.

April 24, 1996 and Sept. 30, 1996

People Deported:
213,0711 (30,630 for criminal or narcotics violations)2

Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and Illegal Immigration Reform and
Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA)
Congress passes and President Bill Clinton signs the “1996 laws,” which replace a largely discretionary system
with mandatory detention and mandatory deportation.3
•• The grounds of deportation expand to include a broad range of minor offenses, including a vast expansion
of the term “aggravated felony.” This term now applies to more than 50 classes of crimes, many of which are
neither “aggravated” nor “felonies.” Most of the new deportation grounds are applied retroactively to crimes
occurring before the laws’ passage.
•• Deportation becomes a mandatory minimum, where many immigrants, including lawful permanent residents, have no right to prove rehabilitation, family and community ties, and other reasons that they deserve
to stay in the US. Immigration judges have no power to grant a pardon from deportation in many cases.
•• Immigrants lose their day in court and have severely restricted rights to seek federal court review of government mistakes.
•• New mandatory detention provisions prohibit an immigration judge from releasing certain immigrants
on bond, even if they pose no risk of flight or threat to society. This applies to immigrants, including lawful
permanent residents and asylum seekers.
•• The Attorney General gains the power to place asylum seekers and certain immigrants with past convictions
into expedited removal – expulsion without seeing a judge.
•• Deportation becomes a point of no return, with long and sometimes lifetime bars to reentry for those
deported. Criminal penalties for illegal reentry are increased.

January, 1997



Flores Settlement for Minors in Detention
The federal government settles the Flores v. Meese lawsuit. The agreement establishes minimum standards for
the detention, release, and treatment of minors in immigration custody. Among other things, it guarantees
basic educational, health, and social services; stipulates that minors should not be detained unless no alternatives are available; and requires that minors who are detained must be placed in the least restrictive setting
possible. The Flores class action lawsuit was originally brought by four minors in 1985.

14 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

1997, 1999
June 25, 2001

INS v. St. Cyr
The Supreme Court decides 5-4 that long-term green card holders who pled guilty to crimes before April
24, 1996 remain eligible to apply for 212(c) relief (a pardon granted by the immigration judge). When the
1996 laws eliminated this pardon, the Justice Department retroactively applied the law in order to force the
deportation of thousands of green card holders with old crimes, even if the crimes were pardonable before
the 1996 laws. Today, the Justice Department maintains that people who were unlawfully deported because
of their actions cannot return to the US and refuses to apply the decision to people who were convicted after
trial (unless a federal court requires it).
Zadvydas v. Davis & Reno v. Ma
The Supreme Court decides 5-4 that a law permitting indefinite detention would raise serious constitutional
issues. The decision indicates that current laws do not authorize the government to indefinitely detain
immigrants who have final orders of deportation but are unlikely to be deported. Instead, such detention is
limited to a “reasonable period” during which the government can attempt deportation, typically 6 months.
The rulings turn on two men: Kestutis Zadvydas, a stateless man born in a German displaced person’s camp,
and Kim Ho Ma, whose home country, Cambodia, has no repatriation agreement with the US at the time. In
2003, the US signs an agreement and deports Ma and other Cambodians settled in the US in the wake of the
Vietnam War.
Post 9/11 “Special Interest” Round-Ups
Shortly after 9/11, the FBI and INS arrest at least 1,200 South Asians, Arabs, and North Africans.4 Their arrests
are marked by heavy-handed tactics of entering into people’s homes at early hours of the morning and
carting them away in front of their families to several detention centers in New Jersey and Brooklyn, New
York. These men are initially held indefinitely, in secret, without charges, and with their immigration hearings closed to the public. Most are ultimately charged with overstaying visas and minor immigration violations. Others are charged with marriage fraud, illegal reentry, and other relatively low level criminal offenses.
The majority of this group is deported. During this time period, the PATRIOT Act and regulations adopted
by administration soon after 9/11 gives the government far reaching authority to detain immigrants for
extended periods and without charges.

December 2001

Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act of 1997 (NACARA) and Haitian Refugee
Immigration Fairness Act of 1999
These acts allow Nicaraguan, Cuban, and Haitian nationals who were continuously present in the United
States since December 31, 1995 (or their spouses or children), to become lawful permanent residents if they
applied for adjustment of status before April 1, 2000.

June 28, 2001


Sept 2001 to August 2002


Operation Tarmac
INS raids airports around the country with other law enforcement agencies, arresting more than 1,000 undocumented immigrants and immigrants with past convictions. Some of those arrested are charged criminally
with document fraud.

Section 1: Deportation Basics 15

January 25, 2002

Alien Absconder Apprehension Initiative (now known as Fugitive Operations)
This initiative formalizes the Justice Department’s hunt immediately after 9/11 for immigrants with old deportation orders. Attorney General Ashcroft places the names of so-called “absconders” into the National Crime
Information Center (NCIC) database, created in 1930 for criminal dispositions and warrants. Now, when an
immigrant is pulled over by a cop for a traffic violation, s/he could be turned over to DHS and deported
within hours or days if his or her name appears in the NCIC – even if this person has citizen family, decades of
residency, or property in the US. Many of the estimated 500,000 people with old deportation orders do not
know they have been ordered deported and fall into this category. This may be the first time in US history
that so many people are fugitives without knowing it.

March 27, 2002

Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB
Supreme Court rules 5-4 that Jose Castro, a laborer fired unlawfully for union organizing, has no right to back
pay – the usual remedy for unemployment due to an illegal termination – because he is undocumented. Upon
an appeal by the Mexican government, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights advised that international
law required that immigrant workers are entitled to the same labor protections as citizens.

October 2002

Special Registration (NSEERS program)
Engineered by the Bush administration, this executive branch program has two parts: “Call in” and “Port of
Entry” registration. The “Call in” requires non-permanent resident men and boys age 16 and over from 25
primarily Muslim countries and North Korea to appear for interviews, at which INS interrogates them about
political beliefs and immigration and financial information. Eighty thousand people comply. Of these people,
the government tries to deport 14,000. Others face potential criminal prosecution and deportation for special
registration non-compliance. “Port of Entry” registration requires this same group of men to be fingerprinted
and interviewed whenever leaving or entering the US. The government publicizes this policy only on its website and in the Federal Register. Community institutions take on the burden of educating communities. This
program becomes part of the government’s post-9/11 persecution, causing entire neighborhoods to leave
the country. This program is still in effect.

March 1, 2003


Department of Homeland Security Act
Congress dismantles the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and transfers many of its functions to
a Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is split into enforcement, border patrol and services. The
DHS constitutes the largest reorganization of the federal government in 50 years. The immigration courts
remain with the Department of Justice.

April 29, 2003


Demore v. Kim
The Supreme Court upholds mandatory detention – the jailing of a noncitizen during his or her deportation
case, regardless of whether s/he is a risk of flight or threat to society, solely because the noncitizen belongs
in a blanket category (in this case, immigrants with a past conviction). This case centers on Hyung Joon Kim,
a young man who emigrated to the US from South Korea at age 6, became a green card holder at age 8, and
was convicted of burglary and petty theft as a teenager. He was placed in deportation proceedings after
completing his sentence, and held without a bond hearing as an “aggravated felon.” Lower federal courts had
decided that such mandatory detention was unconstitutional. This is the first time since Japanese internment
during WWII that the Supreme Court upheld the government’s right to blanket incarceration.

16 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

Operation Predator
This ICE initiative goes after noncitizens who have finished their sentence for past child sex-related offenses.
It uses the same tactics as the Alien Absconder Apprehension Initiative and the “Special Interest” sweeps,
including visits to the workplace and home, and also gathers information from Megan’s Law databases. DHS
claims that the program is “designed to protect young people from…predatory criminals…and those who
exploit young people”; however, its targets include people with low-level convictions for consensual teenage
relationships, for which a criminal judge decided they deserve no jail time.


Leocal v. Ashcroft
The Supreme Court unanimously decides that the government was misinterpreting immigration law by
categorizing certain drunk driving offenses as “crimes of violence” aggravated felonies, and thereby subjecting immigrants with certain DUIs to mandatory detention and mandatory deportation. The Court holds that
offenses that require mere accidental or negligent conduct are not “crimes of violence” because this denotes
more active violent conduct.
Intelligence Bill
This bill is meant to legislate the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, but becomes an embarrassing
battle when Republicans try to tag on irrelevant immigration provisions. Families of 9/11 victims speak out
against the bill, and ultimately Republicans are forced to drop certain provisions, like nationwide immigration
requirements on drivers licenses and the suspension of habeas corpus for immigrants in deportation. But
the bill does deliver two devastating blows: it doubles the number of border patrol agents and adds 40,000
new detention beds to the deportation system. The “leftover provisions” are later championed by politicians
including Congressman James Sensenbrenner.

January 12, 2005 January 12, 2005

Parole and Probation Raids
ICE begins to aggressively use probation and parole divisions to lure immigrants for deportation. One early
example is a raid in New York, in which 500 officers from New York’s Division of Parole and ICE tag team to
identify and detain immigrants who are successfully complying with parole. This raid targets 138 immigrants
- most of whom are Black and Latino and many of whom have green cards. Some parole officers call parolees
and former parolees, asking them to report for non-routine visits. When they report, ICE arrests them and
detains them, often outside the state. Today, probation and parole departments across the country assist ICE
in identifying and arresting noncitizens for deportation.

November 9, 2004

Operation Endgame
This strategic plan from ICE sets out a ten year goal to “remove all removable aliens” from the United States.

December 12, 2004

March 2004

October 2003


Clark v. Martinez & Benitez v. Rozos
The Supreme Court decides that the government cannot indefinitely detain “Mariel” Cubans and other
“parolees” who have final orders of deportation but cannot be deported (for example, in cases where the
country of origin will not accept their return). This extends the rationale in Zadvydas (above) to noncitizens
who were never “admitted” into the US.
Jama v. INS
The Supreme Court decides 5-4 that the government may deport a person to a country even without that
country’s consent to accept him. In this case, the court held that the immigration laws did not prevent the
government from deporting Mr. Jama, a Somali national, to Somalia despite the civil war in the country and
the resulting lack of a central government there to accept his return.

Section 1: Deportation Basics 17

May 11, 2005

In this act, Congress eliminates immigrants’ ability to challenge deportation orders in federal district courts
through habeas corpus petitions. Federal appeals must now be brought to the federal Court of Appeals
within 30 days. According to the government, people who have missed this deadline can no longer seek
justice in federal court, even if the government clearly made a mistake or misinterpreted the law during their
deportation case. The REAL ID Act also requires states to institute costly and burdensome drivers’ license
regulations and deny licenses to undocumented and other immigrants.

December 2005
through June 2006

Immigration “Reform” Part 1 – DC Legislates and Immigrants March
With no debate, Wisconsin Congressman James Sensenbrenner rams H.R. 4437 through the House of Representatives. This legislation is the harshest immigration legislation in history. Among other provisions, it
criminalizes undocumented presence and humanitarian assistance to immigrants, expands detention facilities, further militarizes the border, and greatly expands mandatory deportation as a second punishment for
immigrants (undocumented and green card holders) who have finished serving a sentence for a past conviction. The passage of H.R. 4437 ignites mass marches – more than one million immigrants and their families and communities mobilize in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and dozens of cities around the country.
Months later, the Senate passes S. 2611, which is billed as “comprehensive” immigration reform but includes
many of the same detention and deportation expansions as HR 4437. Congressional session ends without
adopting either bill. However, Congress does pass legislation authorizing a 700 mile fence along the border
with Mexico.

December 2006


Immigration Raids
The DHS begins a series of raids, including a highly publicized raid in Postville, IA targeting immigrants at
workplaces, homes and shopping centers. These raids result in the arrest and detention of thousands of
immigrants across the country. Parents are shipped to detention centers around the country, while children
are left stranded at schools and day care centers, and communities scramble to respond to the crises. Many
immigrants are prosecuted criminally for “identity theft” or other document-related offenses for using false
papers to work. Convictions on these charges result in the inability to apply for lawful status.

December 5, 2006


Lopez v. Gonzales
The Supreme Court decides 8-1 that the government was misinterpreting immigration law by categorizing a
state conviction for “simple drug possession” as a “drug trafficking” aggravated felony, and was thereby denying many lawful permanent residents (including Petitioner Jose Antonio Lopez) the opportunity to apply
for discretionary relief from deportation and denying immigrants who fear persecution in their countries of
origin the opportunity to apply for asylum. The decision, which reads like a grammar lesson to the government, puts the brakes on the unlawful hyper-enforcement by the government and opens the way for many
green card holders to present their individual case to an immigration judge. As in past cases, however, the
government maintains that immigrants who have already been unlawfully deported due to the government’s
error have no remedy.

18 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010


Immigration “Reform” Part 2
Congress revives its attempt to pass immigration legislation. In the House of Representatives, Congressmen
Guitierrez and Flake introduce the STRIVE Act, which includes provisions that expand detention and deportation as well as programs to give lawful status to some immigrants. Senate Democrats announce a “Grand
Bargain” with the White House and Senate Republicans, resulting in a bill that increase detention space,
expands deportation for past offenses, and limits family-based immigration. The legalization programs in the
Grand Bargain are linked to enforcement triggers, requiring the completion of a border fence and other border militarization activities before the legalization programs can begin. Like the previous year’s S 2261, both
bills include bars to legalization that narrow the number of eligible immigrants. All attempts to pass a large
scale immigration package fail and are replaced with intermittent attempts to pass pro- and anti-immigrant
provisions through piecemeal legislation.

August 27, 2007

Hutto Settlement
ICE settles a lawsuit brought by 26 immigrant children detained at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor,
Texas that detains families with children as young as one year old. The settlement, extended two years later,
requires ICE to improve conditions, submit to external oversight, and limit the detention of families with
recourse to fight deportation. Hutto, managed by the Corrections Corporation of America, is widely exposed
as a symbol of the inhumanity of the American immigration detention system, in which guards threaten
kids with separation from their parents. Families are in prison cells 12 hours per day, and prison-uniformed
children receive one hour of school instruction per day. ICE eventually stops “family detention” at Hutto, but
continues to detain children in other detention centers.

October 2008

Secure Communities (S-Comm)
The DHS implements the Secure Communities program in pilot cities. S-Comm checks the fingerprints of
every person who is arrested against DHS databases within hours of arrest or booking. Whenever fingerprints
match the record of a record indicating immigration history, ICE decides whether to take enforcement action,
such as issuing a detainer. ICE plans to implement S-Comm in every state by 2011 and almost every jail in the
country by 2013.



President Obama continues to expand President Bush’s ICE ACCESS program, which first rolled out in 2008.
DHS and the Obama Administration made clear that they intend to focus heavily on immigrants who have
had an interaction with law enforcement, and to insert immigration into every aspect of the criminal justice
system, from arrest to completion of criminal process and beyond. ICE ACCESS programs, which include the
Criminal Alien Program, S-Comm, 287(g), Operation Community Shield, and Fugitive Operations, emerge as
the Administration’s central means to fuse the criminal and immigration systems.



Immigration “Reform” Part 3
Once again, Congress takes up immigration legislation. Congressman Guitierrez introduces HR 4321, called
CIR ASAP, which includes a legalization program complete with many of the bars in earlier legislation, the
DREAM ACT, and the Child Citizen Protection Act (enabling immigration judges to suspend deportation if it
would be in the best interest of a US citizen child). But, this bill is considered a marker bill that will not move
forward. Senators Schumer and Graham announce their own general “blueprint” for immigration legislation,
which appears to focus more on deportation enforcement than legalization. Graham disappears from the
picture but a proposal by Senators Schumer, Reid, Menendez, Feinstein, and Durbin emerges – still focusing
overwhelmingly on enforcement.

Section 1: Deportation Basics 19

FY1997 - 2008

April 23, 2010

March 31, 2010

May 3, 2010


Hui v. Castañeda
The Supreme Court considers whether the family of Francisco Castañeda can sue federal Public Health Service officials for unconstitutional denial of medical care in immigration detention facilities. For almost one
year, Mr. Castañeda begged for medical attention for painful lesions that government doctors correctly suspected was cancer, but was refused the recommended biopsy and appropriate treatment. His cancer spread
and ultimately killed him. Mr. Castañeda had lived in the US since he was 10 years old, and this lawsuit is
brought by his teenage daughter. In May 2010 the Supreme Court unfortunately decides that most government doctors are not personally liable for providing inadequate medical care.
Padilla v. Kentucky
The Supreme Court issues its watershed decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, deciding that the US Constitution requires
criminal defense attorneys to advise their clients of immigration consequences of their criminal charges.

Arizona Goes Off the Deep End
Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer signs SB 1070, authorizing local law enforcement to demand proof of immigration status from anyone they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is undocumented. Among other things,
this law makes it a state crime to be in Arizona without lawful immigration status, to fail to carry immigration
documentation, and to transport or house an undocumented person. Local and national organizations and
many law enforcement officials decry the legislation as a green light for racial profiling and harassment of
Latinos and other people of color; a hit on law enforcement resources and community policing efforts; and a
hit on an already weak state economy. Comparisons to civil rights abuses by states in the 1960s, South African
apartheid, and Nazi Germany devastate Arizona’s image.
People Deported Since 1997: 2,672,456
(851,093 people are deported on criminal grounds or with criminal convictions between FY1999-2008)4

1	 Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics, Table 38 of 2005 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics.

assets/statistics/yearbook/2005/OIS_2005_Yearbook.pdf (accessed June 20, 2007).
and Naturalization Service (INS), Table 69 of Fiscal Year 1998 Statistical Yearbook.

2	 Immigration

3	 See Nancy Morawetz. Understanding the Impact of the 1996 Deportation Laws and the Limited Scope of Proposed Reforms. (113 Harv. L. Rev. 1936

(2000). See also Aleinikoff, Martin and Motomura. Immigration and Citizenship: Process and Policy (1998). See also Section 440(a) of the INA as
revised under AEDPA, and again under IIRAIRA.
4	 Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics, Tables 36 and 37 of 2008 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics. http://www.dhs.

gov/files/statistics/publications/yearbook.shtm (accessed April 26, 2010).

20 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010


Section 2:
The Current
Detention and

his section
provides a more
complete picture
of the current detention
and deportation system.
Here, we share information to understand the system – and tips and
strategies to better navigate it.
We begin with a summary of who can be deported and high-risk categories for deportation. Next, we discuss
“trigger sites” for deportation – in other words, where Immigration might be most likely to arrest noncitizens.
After that, we present a map of the deportation system to give a bird’s-eye view of the legal process. We then
take a closer look at the different components of detention and deportation. Included is a description of the
current detention system and a map of detention centers around the country. Because getting out of detention
can be critical in helping immigrants fight their deportation cases, we review bond, parole, and alternatives to
detention. For those who are forced to remain in detention or face abuse, we include information about how to
report various problems encountered in detention centers and a sample letter of complaint.
We then move on to the legal process of fighting a case in immigration court and beyond.
We describe the different types of hearings
that occur in immigration court. Following that,
we give tips and strategies to help navigate a
deportation case, including materials helping
someone facing deportation and the key documents to collect. We provide a chart of common forms of “relief” that immigrants can apply
for in immigration court to allow them to stay
in the US. We end with materials on what happens after an immigration court case is over. We
review the financial consequences of deportation, the legal mechanisms to keep fighting a
deportation case, and the limited options people might have to come back to the US after
getting deported.
Photo by Mizue Aizeki

Section 2: Detention and Deportation System 21

Who Can Be Deported?
The short answer is that any person who is not a citizen can
be deported from the US. Certain immigrants are particularly at risk for deportation.
Immigrants With Past Conviction (Including Green
Card Holders)
Immigrants with certain convictions can be deported,
barred from adjusting their status to lawful permanent residency or prohibited from returning to the US after a trip
abroad. This includes:

•• Lawful permanent residents (LPRs, or green card holders)
•• Asylees and refugees
•• People who have been granted withholding of removal
or temporary protected status (TPS)

•• People who have applied to adjust their status
•• People on tourist, student, business, and other visas
The types of convictions leading to deportation are very
broad and even include offenses that the criminal judge
considered minor enough to warrant no time in jail. This
deportation is like a second punishment that usually happens after immigrants finish their criminal sentence and can
happen years after the conviction.

22 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

Undocumented Immigrants
Undocumented immigrants are deportable whether or not
they have a conviction. However, any arrest or conviction
will make them more likely to be discovered by Immigration and may also affect whether they can adjust their status. This includes:

•• People who “entered without inspection” – for example, walked across the border without going through

•• People with old deportation orders – remember that some
people may have old deportation orders, even if they
don’t know it – for example, if a green card application
was denied and person did not get notice that the government had started a deportation case

•• People who have overstayed a visa
Can US Citizens be Deported?
US citizens cannot be deported. However, the government
can attempt to take away the citizenship of naturalized
citizens if they can show that naturalization was gained
through fraud – for example, if a person did not disclose an
arrest or conviction on the naturalization application. A person whose citizenship is stripped may again be vulnerable
to deportation.

Trigger Sites for Deportation
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) arrests
immigrants in a number of public and private spaces. For
immigrants who are at risk for deportation (see previous
page), the following sites most often trigger detention and
Everyday Locations: Workplaces,
Homes, Streets, Buses, Trains
In late 2006, Immigration began conducting raids more aggressively. Immigration agents are now boarding Greyhound buses and
Amtrak trains in some states (near and away from the border), demanding “status documents,” and arresting those
who cannot produce them. They are also arresting people
on the streets, in their homes, and at their workplaces. Especially during home raids, Immigration often uses deceptive
tactics to get noncitizens to open the doors to their homes
(what Immigration will call “consent” to allow them to enter).
They also often don’t obtain the proper judicial warrants
necessary to legally enter homes and workplaces.
Upon Being Stopped
by the Police
Immigrants are now increasingly getting stopped for minor offenses – such
as broken tail lights and minor traffic offenses – in communities where the police have decided to take on federal
immigration enforcement duties. The police often use these
stops to question people about their immigration status
and to turn immigrants over to Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE).
A police stop is most likely to result in immigration involvement if the person has an old order of deportation – especially since the Department of Justice began entering this
information into the National Crime Information center
(NCIC) database, which is accessed by law enforcement. In
addition, many jails and prisons participate in the Criminal
Alien Program, through which ICE agents interview immigrants at local jails and lodge detainers preventing release
from custody. Many also participate in ICE’s “Secure Communities” program, through which fingerprints of all arrest-

ees are sent through a DHS database, flagging people for
detainers. Some local governments have also entered into
“287(g) agreements” with ICE, which give them authority to
enforce certain immigration laws.
Through these policies and programs, green card holders
with a past conviction and undocumented immigrants with
no convictions may be turned over to ICE even if criminal
charges are dropped, or the person is found not guilty of the
criminal charges.
After Leaving The Country
and Trying to Reenter
At an airport, seaport, or at land
borders, Immigration agents may detain noncitizens if they
have an old conviction (even a violation or misdemeanor),
false papers, no status, or an old deportation order. Green
card holders with old convictions are often detained at this
trigger site – even if they have traveled outside the US many
times since the conviction.
When Applying For Citizenship, Adjustment
of Status, Asylum, or TPS
Many immigrants with old deportation orders or past convictions are detained when they apply for legal status or
citizenship. Some undocumented immigrants apply for benefits for which they do not qualify (for example, because of
bad legal advice, putting them on Immigration’s radar and
at greater risk.
During or Upon Finishing a Criminal Sentence
(including Parole, Probation)
Immigrants may be sent to ICE during or
after completing a jail or prison sentence,
or a drug rehabilitation or other alternative
program. They may also be sent to ICE while on parole or
serving a sentence of probation. ICE officials are increasingly
coordinating with probation and parole departments.

Section 2: Detention and Deportation System 23

Deportation Map
Starting Deportation
Immigration & Customs
Enforcement (ICE) decides
to initiate deportation
proceeding and decides
whether to detain an
immigrant (in a county jail,
federal detention center,
or private prison anywhere
in the country). ICE issues
a Notice to Appear that
lists immigration charges
and holds immigrant until
s/he is granted bond, is
ordered released,
or deported.

Immigration Judge (IJ)



If someone
is bond
the judge
sets a bond

The judge
eligibility, and
may order
release or

The judge
for relief and
then may
order release
or removal.




24 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

The BIA reviews appeals
of IJ decisions. Appeals
must be filed within
30 days of IJ decision.
The BIA also issues final
orders of deportation.

Federal District Court



Board of
Appeals (BIA)

If an immigrant has a final
administrative order of
deportation and no stay of
deportation, ICE may deport
him/her. Consulates from an
individual’s home country
usually must first issue a
travel document
before someone
is deported.

Country of Origin
Each country deals with
deported individuals differently.
Some governments regularly
detain and monitor them,
and there have been reported
instances of torture. Homelessness and unemployment are
common among individuals
who are deported.

Since the REAL ID Act
passed in 2005, this
court can only hear
writ of habeas corpus
petitions challenging
detention. The court
no longer can hear
petitions challenging
removal orders.

Circuit Court of
This court reviews
appeals of removal
orders by way of
petitions for review.
Petitions for review
must be filed within 30
days of a BIA decision.
The court also reviews
decisions made in the
federal District Court.

US Supreme Court
The Supreme Court
reviews Court of
Appeals decisions.
It chooses to accept a
very limited number
of cases.

About the US Detention and Deportation System

The US government detained approximately 380,000 people in immigration custody in 2009
in a hodgepodge of about 350 facilities, at an annual cost of more than $1.7 billion.

Did you know?

•• Immigrants in detention include families, undocumented and documented immigrants, people who have been in the US for years, survivors of torture, asylum seekers, pregnant women, children, and individuals who are seriously ill without proper
medication or care.

•• Being in violation of immigration laws is not a crime. It is a civil violation for which
immigrants generally go through a process to see whether they have a right to stay in
the United States. Immigrants detained during this process are supposed to be in noncriminal custody. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the agency responsible for detaining immigrants.

•• The average cost of detaining an immigrant is approximately $122 per person per day.
Alternatives to detention, which generally include a combination of reporting and
electronic monitoring, are effective and significantly cheaper, with some programs
costing as little as $12 per day. These alternatives to detention still yield an estimated
93% appearance rate before the immigration courts.

•• Although DHS owns and operates its own detention centers, it also “buys” bed space
from over 312 county and city prisons nationwide to hold the majority of those who
are detained (over 67%).

•• About half of all immigrants held in detention have no criminal record at all. The rest
may have committed some crime in their past, but they have already paid their debt
to society. They are being detained for immigration purposes only.

•• Torture survivors, victims of human trafficking, and other vulnerable groups can be
detained for months or even years, further aggravating their isolation, depression, and
other mental health problems associated with their past trauma.

•• As a result of this surge in detention and deportation, immigrants are suffering poor
conditions and abuse in detention facilities across the country and families are being
separated often for life while the private prison industry and county jailers are reaping
huge profits.

Detention Watch Network,

Section 2: Detention and Deportation System 25

Detention Centers in the US*

* NOTE: 	This map does not show all of the detention centers in the US. It is meant to give a picture of the places where detention centers

are concentrated. This version of the map does not show locations in Hawaii or Alaska. Details for each detention center are at

26 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

Getting Out of Detention
How does someone get out of
immigration detention?
These are the some of the ways you can get out of detention.
1.	 Bond: A bond is an amount of money paid to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as a guarantee that
you will attend all hearings, obey conditions of release,
and obey the judge’s final order even if you have to leave
the US. Your deportation officer may set a bond amount
in your case soon after your arrival in detention. If it is
too much for you to pay or your deportation officer has
not set a bond, you can ask an immigration judge for a
bond or a lower bond amount. See more about bond
hearings below.
2.	 Release on your own recognizance: In some limited
cases, ICE or the immigration judge can release you without having to pay any money. Sometimes, you can be
released on “alternatives to detention,” which are programs run by private companies hired by ICE. If you do
not comply with the conditions on your release, you may
risk being re-detained.
3.	 Parole: ICE has the authority to release any individual
from detention on “parole.” There is no way to appeal
denial of a parole request to an immigration court.
Sometimes, they ask you to pay money as part of the
parole guarantee, and sometimes conditions are
attached to the parole.
When should I ask for bond or parole?
You can ask for a bond (“custody redetermination”) hearing
in front of an immigration judge at any time. You can ask for
parole from ICE at any time.
How do I ask for bond or parole?
You can ask ICE to release you by writing them a letter. You
can ask for a bond hearing by sending the immigration
judge and the government attorney a “bond motion,” which
is a legal request for bond. Asking for bond or parole can be
very complicated. If possible, get help from a lawyer experienced in deportation defense.

border/airport, or (4) the government suspects you have
terrorist ties. If the government is using your conviction
to oppose bond, ask for authenticated criminal conviction
documents. Admitting charges may make it harder for you
to appeal your bond case later on. Always get a copy of your
criminal record and immigration documents so that you can
figure this out. In some cases, you may want to challenge a
judge’s decision that you are not eligible for bond in federal

Do not admit to or agree with
the government charges in this hearing.
If I am eligible for bond, what do I have to prove at
the bond hearing?
In this hearing, the judge considers whether you present a
danger to the community, are a national security threat, or
a flight risk. You should submit any documents that show
your favorable factors, such as a permanent address, stable
employment, relatives with legal status in the United States,
and any evidence of strong ties to the community. You
should also ask family and friends to attend the hearing and
to testify to these issues or send written letters of support.
What if I lose my bond hearing?
You can appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration
Appeals. If your situation changes – for example, when a
criminal conviction is dismissed – you can ask for another
bond hearing. Until the Board of Immigration Appeals
makes a decision on your case, you will stay in detention.
An appeal may take a very long time, and some individuals have challenged their detention in cases of prolonged
What if the judge granted bond but the
government attorney files an “automatic stay.”
Sometimes, if a judge grants bond and the government
attorney opposes the bond decision, the government
attorney files an “automatic stay.” This stops the judge from
releasing you on bond. If this happens to you, you may want
to challenge this decision in federal court.

Will I get a bond hearing?

What if I cannot afford to pay the bond?

You should always request a bond hearing, even if you
think are not eligible for it. You may not be eligible for bond
by the judge if you: (1) have a previous deportation order,
(2) have certain criminal convictions, (3) were arrested at the

You can ask the immigration judge to lower your bond at
the bond hearing.
How do I pay bond?

Section 2: Detention and Deportation System 27

Certified or cashiers’ checks from banks or US Postal money
orders payable to the Department of Homeland Security.
NO CASH! You have to pay all of it at once. He/she can pay
the bond at any ICE office. Detained people may have trouble posting bond for themselves if they cannot show where
they will live upon release.
What information does a family member need to post
You will need the detained person’s full name, alien registration number, home address, date of birth, and country
of birth. To post bond, you must have immigration status. If
you want to post bond, ICE may also ask to see your driver
Can ICE add conditions to the bond?
Yes. They may require that you report weekly to the office
or call in to a specific officer. The order may require that you
cannot leave the state. Make sure you understand the conditions on your bond because you may be re-detained if
you violate the conditions. Also, if you move, make sure you
notify your deportation officer.

ICE may select someone to participate in an alternatives
to detention (ATD) program. ATD means that someone is
released from a jail or prison facility on conditions of supervision, employment verifications, home check-ins, call-ins, or
an electronic monitoring device. ICE recently enacted new
ATD protocols, specifically Intensive Supervision Appearance Program II (ISAP II), which combined the previous ISAP
program and the Extensive Supervision/Reporting (ESR)
program operated by a different company.
There are two programs:
(1) The majority of folks are placed in ISAP II. Behavioral Interventions, Inc. (BI), an ICE contractor, runs ISAP II. BI operates
in many cities nationwide. Under ISAP II, pre-trial detainees
are not supposed to be on electronic monitors, but if the ICE
Deportation Officer (DO) believes that an individual poses
a flight risk, they may request the BI case manager to use a
GPS monitor pre-trial. The nationwide roll out began in September 2009, so BI is now operational in many new places.
(2) Electronic Monitoring Program (EMP): ICE manages
these programs, which are used for individuals who reside

28 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

If I am ordered deported (and I don’t appeal),
how long can ICE detain me?
ICE has 90 days to deport you under the law. Depending
how difficult it is to obtain travel documents or whether
your government will accept you, it may take several days
to several months. The Supreme Court has said that more
than six months (in most cases) is too long to hold someone
in detention after they have been ordered deported.
I have been transferred to another location.
Can I file a bond motion in the place where I was
originally detained?
There are good legal arguments to do this, but the immigration judge may not take the motion. For a practice advisory (“Immigration Court Jurisdiction to Conduct Bond Hearings Regardless Whether DHS Transfers
Respondent After the Hearing Request is Filed”), go to
For more information on preparing for a bond
hearing, go to:

outside of the 70 mile radius where ISAP II operates. EMP
currently utilizes the following technologies for monitoring

•• telephonic reporting with voice verification;
•• radio frequency with electronic monitoring devices
attached to one’s ankle; and

•• global position satellite.
EMP uses BI equipment, but BI has no involvement in operating this program.
How are you selected to be in the alternatives to
detention programs?
ICE always decides who can enter the program. They currently do not use a screening tool, so it is in the discretion of
a DO to decide for whom an ATD would be appropriate. A
DO can recommend release into an ATD, but it is a supervisor’s decision to release under these conditions. Guidance
and a screening tool are being developed by ICE headquarters to standardize these decisions, but in the meantime,
communication with the individual’s DO is critical to negotiating the person’s release on this program.

I have been released on the ISAP ATD program.
What can I expect?
You will be referred to the local BI branch. When you are
released into the ISAP program you enter the first stage. BI
will conduct a basic individual needs assessment to determine how they will monitor you. Generally, you are fitted
with an electronic monitoring apparatus – attached to your
ankle - that has a global positioning device. Often during
the first stage, you are required to report to the BI office 3
times a week, and a representative of BI will visit your residence twice a month without informing you. You will be on
a 12 hour curfew and you have to give them a detailed written schedule of your week.
If ICE does not yet have travel documents for you, a BI
representative will ask you to provide travel documents
to your home country. You may be asked to go to your
consulate and apply for a passport, or provide a letter
from the consulate stating that they will not issue to travel
document at this point in time. Some immigrants state
that they have experienced threats and scare tactics by BI
Often upon giving BI the travel document, you will enter the
second stage of the program. The electronic ankle monitor may be taken off, and you may not have a curfew. Your
reporting conditions may change to twice per month. The
criteria may vary by BI locations and be based on how well
you have complied with their terms.

What is BI required to report to ICE?
Under its contract with ICE, BI must report any emergency
changes in circumstances or when a person fails to check in
as required within 24 hours. ICE then decides whether to
take action. ICE may increase the conditions of supervision,
including requiring that an individual be placed on a GPS
ankle monitor.
What if a person has been on an order
of supervision after being ordered removed?
The default ISAP II program model contemplates use of a
GPS monitor for all new ISAP II participants. ICE makes the
decision as to who will be enrolled in the ISAP II program
after an order of removal. ICE has the authority to enroll any
person on an order of supervision in ISAP II and can instruct
BI not to use the GPS monitor.
What if I want to challenge the conditions of release?
Conditions of release may be challenged to an immigration judge within 7 days. A DO may recommend changes
to the conditions of release. Only a supervising DO has the
authority to change conditions without judicial action. BI
does not have the authority to change the conditions ICE
has instructed them to place.
What if I have complaints about BI?
All complaints can be raised to the Field Office Director of
the ICE office closest to you.
What if I have complaints about ICE?
All complaints can be raised to the Field Office Director of
the ICE office closest to you.

Photo by Jason Cato

Section 2: Detention and Deportation System 29

Reporting Problems with Detention Conditions 	
and Detainee Abuse
Detained immigrants are scattered throughout a network
of county jails and prisons, federal detention centers, and
private prisons. Detained immigrants regularly report problems accessing legal materials or contacting their loved
ones or attorneys because of limited visitation, phone, and
mail service; poor food and medical care; and maltreatment
by facility staff. Immigrants in detention have the right to
demand better standards of care and treatment to ensure
their safety and enable them to pursue their legal case.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has established National Detention Standards that govern the treatment of immigrants in its custody. (See
gov/partners/dro/PBNDS/index.htm). However, the standards are not regulations – they are merely guidelines and
are not enforceable by law. So, the main way to demand that
ICE meets its standards is through filing complaints with ICE
officials locally and with the national office.
Detainee Grievance Form: The American Bar Association
(ABA) has instructions for people who want to file complaints regarding detention standards, conditions of confinement, and access to attorneys. You can find the instructions and complaint form at:
In addition to poor conditions, detained immigrants may
be subject to abuse at the hands of corrections officers and
even other inmates. Incidents of abuse have been widely
reported over the last 15 years (see American Gulag, by
Mark Dow). If you feel that a member or loved one is being
abused, follow some basic steps:

•• Get the story straight. It is never enough to just say
“someone beat up my daughter/son.” It is important to
write down the following information:

➨➨Date and approximate time of each incident
➨➨Names, alien registration numbers (A#s), and inmate
numbers of everyone that was assaulted

➨➨Names and titles of officer(s) who assaulted the

➨➨Names and A#s of people who witnessed the event
(including sympathetic officers)

➨➨Detailed description of the assault and the official
response to the assault

30 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

•• Write a one-page letter of concern. It is always important to have written correspondence to government or
jail officials. This is much easier than anyone thinks it is
(see sample letter). Including whatever relevant information you are able to collect above, write a one-page letter
with a clear description of events and clear demands for
recourse. Different people write letters in different styles.
Some suggestions:

➨➨Address the letter to people with immediate jurisdic-

tion over the facility, including the Warden, ICE Field
Office Director, and the Department of Homeland
Security Office of the Inspector General (in Washington, DC).

➨➨Copy (cc) the letter to at least one member of Con-

gress, and organizations that may care. Make sure
that you have some relationship with the individuals
on the cc: line, so that they may follow-up. **In many
cases it may be better to not copy the letter to the press
just yet.

➨➨Describe the incident as documented in bulletpoint

format. Begin the description with “This is our understanding of the facts” and end with “We would like
some clarity on this matter.” Also use language like
“alleged.” This type of language gives you some flexibility in highlighting allegations that are not immediately confirmable. Be very careful to only highlight
events you have heard from trusted or multiple
sources. Your credibility is important, and if the case
goes to court in the future, your written words may
help or hurt.

➨➨Identify and present clear demands. Make sure that

officials can meet demands immediately. Demands
may include releasing detainees from segregation,
contacting their attorneys, giving them medical attention, etc.

➨➨Request a direct response in your conclusion (for

example, “We have yet to go public with this matter
and are awaiting a response”). Include a phone and
fax number where you can be reached.

➨➨Verify delivery to all parties (fax confirmations, certi-

fied mail receipts) so that you can follow up to make

sure they received it. Keep in touch with inmates in
the facility to document progress.


Get a partner (one party in the cc: line) to also document and confirm the incident. Then make a determination about going to media with the detainees

•• Encourage the detainees involved to file complaints.
To preserve the possibility of legal action, detainees that
face abuse should file written complaints. Complaints
should be filed to:

➨➨Officer in Charge of the Facility (OIC) and ICE
Field Office Director

•• Each facility should have a complaint procedure as
outlined in detainee handbook

••	 Detainees must submit an informal complaint
within five days of event

➨➨Office of Professional Responsibility
•• This office has jurisdiction over misconduct by
DOJ attorneys and judges (including EOIR). This is
useful if you tried to report the incident to a judge
or other DOJ employee, and it was disregarded.

•• Department of Homeland Security
	 Attn: Office of Professional Responsibility
	 500 12th St, SW
	 Washington, DC 20024

•• Talk to attorneys and legal experts about filing complaints about detention conditions and civil suits
for monetary damages. Suing over detainee abuse is
very difficult, and very few lawyers are available to help
people sue when they are abused. Nevertheless it can be
an option and some detainees have even sued without
a lawyer’s help (pro se)! The following are some potential

➨➨Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA): FTCA claims can be

used by immigration detainees against the United
States if they were injured due to actions by federal
officers before or during their detention. A detainee
can file an FTCA complaint when a federal officer
violates state laws. FTCA complaints may attract interest from private firms because a detainee may obtain
monetary compensation.

➨➨Bivens claims are lawsuits against individual employ••	 Formal complaint must be within five days of
event or unsuccessful conclusion of informal
grievance. (See the appendix for local ICE contact

➨➨Office of Inspector General (OIG) in
Washington, D.C.

•• The OIG has jurisdiction over all ICE employees.
•• The OIG investigates allegations of abuse, misconduct, and systemic problems.

•• Department of Homeland Security
Attn:  Office of Inspector General
245 Murray Drive, SW, Bldg 410
Washington, D.C. 20538
Ph: 1-800-323-8603/ Fax:  (202) 254-4292

ees of the federal government. A detainee may file Bivens complaints to obtain money damages to remedy
constitutional violations (specifically of 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th,
or 8th amendments). However, if a court has given a
decision on an FTCA claim, a detainee is barred from
filing a Bivens complaint. You cannot bring a Bivens
lawsuit against a Public Health Service employee for
detention abuse or death.

➨➨Section 1983 claims or 1983 complaints are law-

suits against individual employees of the state or local
government (e.g. county jail officials) to obtain money
damages to remedy constitutional rights violations.
Of the three complaints, 1983 complaints are the
most complicated and often require the most help
from legal experts.

Section 2: Detention and Deportation System 31

Sample Letter Reporting Abuse

Warden Leroy Holiday, Concordia Parrish Correctional Facility; Field Office
Director Craig Robinson, Officers Randall Morton & Marvin McKlesky, Bureau of
Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Nancy Hooks; DHS Secretary Tom Ridge


American Civil Liberties Union (national and local offices), CLINIC and Loyola
School of Law, Associated Catholic Charities, Office of Inspector General at DOJ

Date: 	March 23, 2004

Immigration Inmate Patrick B--- (A#------------)

Families For Freedom is an immigrant rights organization that works with immigrant
detainees and their family members.  On March 18, 2004 we received a letter from
inmate Patrick B--- indicating that he was assaulted by correctional officers at
Concordia Parrish Correctional Facility II (CPCF). We have also had an opportunity to
speak with Mr. B---.
Here is our understanding of the facts:
On March 10, 2004, at approximately 3:30pm, Lieutenant Lyold opened the door of
Mr. Patrick B---’s cell and slapped Mr. B--- in the face.  Shortly there after, five additional
officers (Officers Book, Dhanes, and three others) entered his cell and repeatedly
punched and kicked Mr. B--- and dragged him out of the cell.  They apparently
handcuffed and pepper sprayed Mr. B--- and then put him back in the cell with
handcuffs on.
Mr. B--- has sustained severe injuries as a result of this beating. He has pain in his lower
back and neck and an inability to see clearly.  We also understand that he has up to this
point been denied proper medical treatment, and as a result, the pain has moved to his
legs. As of today, he continues to have trouble and pain while walking.
Mr. B--- has written to us that he had been smoking in his cell immediately before
this incident. He had assumed that smoking was permitted in his cell, as it had been
previously.  In fact, Mr. B--- reports that officers had often provided him with cigarettes
and lights, and continue to do so.  
We have also been informed that Mr. B--- was in 24-hour lockdown for three months due
to his unwillingness to violate his religious beliefs against cutting his hair and beard.
Mr. B--- is a practicing Rastafarian.
We consider it the responsibility of BICE and CPCF officials to contact legal counsel for
Mr. B---, if he has one, and his family to discuss this matter.

32 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

We understand that Officer Lloyd may have already been suspended. We request
confirmation that all officers involved in the March 10th event are removed from duties
at Concordia Parrish Correctional Facility until an investigation into this matter is
completed.  We would also like assurances that no punitive actions (threats, arbitrary
transfers, etc.) will be taken against Mr. B--- or other inmates by BICE or CPCF officials.

We are extremely concerned about the treatment of immigration inmates at CPCF.  
We have received reports of other incidents where the rights of immigration inmates
may have been violated. Complaints range widely and include assault, lack of prepaid
phone cards, lack of access to legal materials, confiscation of personal paperwork,
coercion of inmates to violate religious beliefs relating to hair and diet, and
segregation if they refuse to do so. In addition, we have been advised of retaliatory
transfers from the Federal Detention Center in Oakdale to various Parrish jails,
especially CPCF. While we understand and applaud that changes are starting to be
made, we would like a clear timeline of your investigation into Mr. B---’s assault and
the manner in which you will address the remaining issues.
We have not yet publicized this matter and are awaiting your response.  Please contact
Families for Freedom at (212) 898-4121 to discuss this matter further.  Thank you in
advance for your immediate attention to this matter.

Section 2: Detention and Deportation System 33

Immigration Court
There are three main types of hearings that can happen in
immigration court: a bond hearing, master calendar hearings, and an individual hearing (also known as a “merits”

deportation case, you can refuse to admit the immigration
charges against you that are listed on the charging document called the Notice to Appear. In addition, you can ask
the judge for more time to find a lawyer.

Bond hearings:

During the master calendar hearing, you might get ordered
deported if:

Bond is like bail. It lets you out of immigration custody while
your case is in process. Deportation officers and immigration judges can offer bond. In the immigration system, not
everyone is eligible for bond. It is important to always ask
your deportation officer or an immigration judge for a bond
hearing, even if you think you are ineligible.
During the bond hearing you can present evidence to the
judge to show that you will comply with the terms of the
bond agreement using favorable factors. Examples of favorable factors are: family ties or community ties, your permanent address, and proof of stable employment. (For more
information, see the section called “Getting out of Detention: Bond and Parole”).
Master calendar hearings:
Master calendar hearings are generally short and you might
have several of them. During master calendar hearings you
can let the immigration judge know what you want to do
in your immigration case. The judge may set up a schedule
to file applications with the court. If you want to fight your

34 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

1.	 You ask to be ordered deported, or
2.	 You do not have any applications that you can file with
the immigration court.
Individual hearings:
If you have an application to file with the immigration court
or any relief from deportation available to you, you will
return to court for an individual or “merits” hearing. This is
your immigration trial.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) attorneys and
the immigration judge might ask you questions. You can
have witnesses testify on your behalf and submit evidence
to support your case. The immigration judge will make a
decision on whether you should be allowed to stay in the
United States. These decisions can be appealed by you or
by ICE. Appeals should be filed within 30 days to the Board
of Immigration Appeals (BIA).

How to Help Someone Facing Deportation
The first step in helping someone with a deportation matter
is to ask the right questions about the case.

Get the right information to get the right help.

*Alert: Asking these questions requires the ability to
keep the responses confidential. If you – as a person,
agency, or organization – feel that you cannot keep these
responses confidential, you should seriously reconsider
asking for the following information.

What is the person’s immigration status?
1.	 Does the person have a green card, asylum/refugee status, a valid visa (tourist, work, business etc. – not just a

work permit) or some other legal reason to be here? If
so, when did s/he get this status and how?
2.	 If the person has no legal status, did s/he overstay a
visa, or enter the country illegally (via the border or false
papers)? When and how?
3.	 Does the person have an old order of deportation?
When did s/he get it and how? Sometimes Immigration
orders immigrants deported without them knowing.
They may have an old order if they lost their asylum case,
skipped an immigration interview, or skipped an immigration hearing. One way to find out if someone has an
old order of deportation is to call the Executive Office for
Immigration Review (EOIR)/immigration court:

STEP 1: 	 Find the Alien Registration Number (A#). This is on the I-94 card
in passports, green cards, work permits, and all other documents
from Immigration. It looks like this: A99 999 999.
STEP 2:	 Call 1-800-898-7180. This is the hotline for the immigration court
STEP 3:	 Press “1” for English or “2” for Spanish.
STEP 4:	 Enter the A# and listen for instructions. If the number is in the
system, this means that the person had a deportation case at
some point.
STEP 5:	 Press “3” to find out if an immigration judge ordered deportation
(removal) against the person.
STEP 6:	 If the hotline says the person has a deportation order, s/he
should consult a lawyer specializing in immigration deportation
before going to any immigration office, leaving the country, or
trying to adjust status. People with old orders of deportation
may not see a judge and can be deported immediately.

*Alert: The EOIR hotline number may not contain information about
deportation orders that are more than several years old. Some people may
also have more than one Alien Registration Number.

Section 2: Detention and Deportation System 35

What information does the person need to fight the deportation case?
Collect the following information about the person facing deportation. The person facing deportation proceedings along with
the primary person handling the case should keep a copy of:

❑❑ Full name and aliases
❑❑ “Alien Registration Number:” This is on most immigration papers, including
the I-94 card on your passport, green card, or any other document that Immigration provides. The A# looks like this: A99 999 999. If you do can’t find the A#,
try to contact the person’s consulate to see if they have a record of detention
that contains the A#.

❑❑ First (or next) immigration court date: If you do not know when the court date
is, call the Immigration court hotline at (800) 898-7180 and enter the A#.

❑❑ Date person entered the US and how (visa, cross border, green card through
marriage, etc.)

❑❑ Criminal record: You must have a list of the precise criminal convictions (for
example, penal law codes). Include the date of arrest, the place of arrest (City,
State), date of conviction, and the sentence. If possible, get a copy of the rap
sheet. Get a Certificate of Disposition for each conviction from the court clerk’s
office in the courthouse where the criminal case was heard.

❑❑ A copy of the Notice to Appear (NTA) and all other immigration paperwork: if
the person has any old orders of deportation, gather the documents related to
the old immigration case.

❑❑ Favorable factors: collect documents showing that the person facing deportation has family, community ties, and “good moral character.” (See the Favorable
Factors sheet in the A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual).

❑❑ The person’s location (jail, federal detention center, etc.).
❑❑ Information about family members: Children, spouses, parents, etc. can be
critical. Information about finances can also help.

36 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

How do I find someone in immigration detention?
It often takes weeks to find someone that has just been
detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Because ICE is often unresponsive, families often shell out
thousands of dollars to attorneys just to find a detained
loved one. There are some simple steps a person can take to
find a detainee. Be persistent and call frequently.
Information you will need about the detained

•• Full name (including all aliases)
•• Date of birth
•• A# (“Alien Registration Number”): The A# is on work
permits, green cards, and all other document that
Immigration provides. It looks like this: A99 999 999.

After getting this information, you can take the
following steps:
1.	 Contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Detention and Removal Office (ICE-DRO). The
website provides information about different local
ICE-DRO offices. Start with the facilities closest to
the arrest location at
dro/contact.htm. Ask to speak with a supervisory deportation officer or the Field Office Director (head of ICE-DRO). Give them the person’s full
name and A#. (Note: Deportation officers may be
mean and not speak to anyone besides an attorney
or the person being deported. You should still try.)
2.	 Contact your Consulate. Consulates are often
required by international convention or treaty
to be notified when one of their nationals is
detained. Many consular offices have caseworkers that work specifically on deportation cases.
Consular officials are sometimes (but not always)
a little nicer to talk to than deportation officers.
Contact the relevant embassy (see http://www. to get the local consular contact information.
3.	 Contact the different county detention facilities.
Detention Watch Network (DWN) has created a

map of detention centers and contact information
for ICE-DRO offices and legal service providers. See
their website:
4.	 Wait for the person to call. Remove any blocks on
your phone for collect calls by calling the phone
company. This way s/he has a greater chance of
reaching you.

*Alert: If you are undocumented or think you might
be at risk of deportation but want to visit someone in
detention, contact an immigration expert first to see if
this may pose a danger to you.

What should detainees do when they are inside?
Because most detainees do not have lawyers or resources,
they often do not immediately know their rights. There are
some basic steps that detainees can take on their own, even
without an attorney:
They should know they have the right to NOT sign any statements or documents, especially those giving up the right to
an immigration hearing in front of an immigration judge. If
necessary, they can say they want to speak to a lawyer first.

✔✔ They can request bond or parole from an immigration
officer immediately (even if they think they don’t qualify). This may help keep them in the state in which they
were arrested.

✔✔ If they have an old order of deportation or certain criminal convictions, they will not see a judge and can be
deported immediately. They should ask for a Notice of
Reinstatement of Deportation Order or Final Administrative Order.

✔✔ Make sure their family members outside have a copy
of all of their immigration paperwork, including the
Notice to Appear (NTA) and their criminal certificates
of disposition.

✔✔ They should ask the jail for a copy of the inmate
handbook, detainee handbook, and ICE Detention

✔✔ If they are able to see an immigration judge but do not
have an attorney, they should tell the judge that they
need more time to find someone to represent them.
If the judge insists that they proceed without a lawyer
against their better judgment, they should insist on the
record that they would like more time.

Section 2: Detention and Deportation System 37

✔✔ If forced to proceed without an attorney, they have the
right to NOT concede or admit to the charges against
them on the NTA. They also do NOT have to go into
details about their case. Anything they say can and will
be used against them – even their country of birth.

✔✔ If they think they may be transferred to a detention center far from your home, and already have a lawyer, make
sure the lawyer has filed an immigration form with the
court and Department of Homeland Security about
the lawyer’s representation of the detainee. This form
is called a G-28, which can be downloaded from http:// Fax the form to
the Deportation Officer immediately. This form may
convince the officer to stop the transfer.

✔✔ If they think they are about to be transferred, remind
them to order jail and ICE officers to make sure that
papers and personal property (including information
about medication) travel with them. They should always
ask for a receipt for their personal property.

How do I find a good lawyer?
People often rush to hire any lawyer when a loved one is
detained. It is often a bad idea to rush to hire an attorney
without having a basic idea about a loved one’s case or
without knowing anything about an attorney. First, learn
as many facts about your loved one, and then approach an
Here are the TOP 9 tips for identifying and dealing
with an attorney:
1.	 Stay informed about the immigration case, and do not
just rely on the attorney.
2.	 Hire someone specializing in deportation. Many attorneys do not know immigration law and many immigration attorneys do not know deportation very well. If the
lawyer does real estate, accidents, business and immigration, s/he is most likely not a deportation specialist.
3.	 Make sure the lawyer looks at your loved one’s Notice To
Appear (NTA) before giving advice.
4.	 Keep the full name and contact information of EVERY
lawyer that has ever represented your loved one.
5.	 Get a written contract before you give the lawyer money.
Ask the lawyer for a “retainer agreement.” Read it carefully. Make sure you understand it. Also make sure that it
contains the same promises the lawyer is making orally.

38 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

6.	 File a complaint with the Attorney Grievance Committee immediately if you feel your lawyer wronged you.
Find out about the process to make a complaint against
a lawyer in your state at the following link: http://www.
7.	 If your loved one has an old order of deportation and
is attempting to adjust status, get written information
from your lawyer explaining how s/he will manage to
keep your loved one from being deported.
8.	 If your attorney ever refuses to provide information
s/he promises you in writing, send a certified mailed letter to the lawyer outlining the promises s/he made to
you and asking for written verification or clarification of
those promises.
9.	 Make sure you and your loved one receive a copy of
everything your lawyer files.

What if the detainee has a criminal case?

•• A recent Supreme Court decision (Padilla v. Kentucky)
makes it mandatory for criminal defense lawyers to
advise clients about the immigration consequences of
their criminal conviction. Detainees with current criminal cases should ask their lawyers to provide information
about the immigration consequences of a conviction
in writing before pleading guilty. Detainees with convictions might also have opportunities to reopen their
criminal cases if they were not advised or misadvised
about the immigration consequences – but this can be
an extremely complicated process.

•• If the detainee faces automatic deportation because of a
crime, s/he can consult a criminal immigration attorney
about the positives and negatives of vacating, appealing,
or reopening the criminal case. This is very complicated,
but may be the only way to avoid deportation.

What happens to a detainee’s
children and property?
People detained by ICE or at risk of detention should consider giving legal power to someone they trust to make
important decisions on their behalf while they are detained.
This is called a “power of attorney” or a proxy and varies from
state to state. This may help ensure that children are not
placed into child protection services and that they can travel
with the detainee if s/he is eventually deported. A power of
attorney can also help detainees control their finances – for

➨➨Contact your Consular Office: Detainees typically

example, by making payments on a mortgage. It helps to do
the power of attorney ahead of time and to include it with
your immigration papers. It’s also helpful to collect children’s
birth certificates and passports ahead of time. To get a US
passport for a minor child, go to
passport/get/minors/minors_834.html. For birth certificates, contact the Office of Vital Statistics in the state where
the certificates were issued.

need travel documents from the consulate before
they are deported. Consulates can often tell you
whether or not travel documents have been issued
for the person, if a flight is scheduled for him/her, and
his/her location in the detention system. They can
also tell you where the person may go after being
deported (for example, the local police station).
Before a detainee is deported, you can call the detainee’s national consulate to ask for the caseworker that
handles deportation. Provide copies of pending litigation to the consulate to show that deportation would
be premature because the detainee is awaiting a
court ruling, ask them to ensure that the deportation
complies with the country’s law, and verify that the
person being deported is indeed a national of that

What if deportation is imminent?*
*Alert: Individuals that have physically prevented
themselves from being put on planes for deportation
have been physically assaulted, sedated and, in some
cases, criminally prosecuted.
Immigrants may be deported immediately if they have
exhausted all appeals/legal options. Immigrants are
subject to immediate deportation if:

*Alert: Because the consulate has the power
to expedite, delay, or simply decline issuing travel
documents, make sure that your actions are not
deemed “obstruction” by the US government.

1.	 They are detained because of an old or outstanding
order of deportation,
2.	 An immigration judge orders them deported and they
do not appeal the decision,

➨➨Talk to an attorney about filing papers to the

3.	 The Board of Immigration Appeals orders their deportation and they do not have a stay of deportation in place
with any federal court, or a federal court rules against
them and they do not have a stay of deportation in

court: If you feel that there are still legitimate legal
claims in a person’s case, it is important talk to a
deportation specialist about filing papers in the courts.
Depending on where someone’s case is legally, you
can file an:

•• Emergency Motion to Reopen and Stay to an immi-

In some cases when a deportation is imminent, the family
needs additional time to gather belongings, make arrangement in the “home” country, or pursue legal arguments.

gration judge or the BIA

•• Petition to Review with a Stay of Deportation to

To obtain additional time when deportation is about
to happen (imminent):


Contact the Deportation Office: Deportation officers have the best information about when a person
may be deported (even if they often refuse to tell
you). An attorney who has filed a G-28 for a detainee
can more easily talk to a deportation officer than a
friend or family member, but you can still try to talk to
a deportation officer directly. And although deportation officers are often unresponsive and uncooperative or just believe they cannot do anything, some
may be willing to even help a little if more time is
needed (for example, because the detainee is filing
court papers or preparing housing arrangements in
the home country). If you feel that a person has a particularly compelling case, you can also speak directly
with the Field Office Director.

Federal Court

•• A Stay of Deportation with ICE (Form I-246)


➨➨Other Pressures (Congress & Media): If a person’s

case is very compelling, or you feel that there is nothing to lose, supportive elected officials and journalists can be instrumental in stopping deportations.
Members of Congress should contact the Field Officer
Director directly to raise concerns around a deportation. (See the A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing
Manual for more information).

Section 2: Detention and Deportation System 39

Key	DoCuments	you	neeD	to	fight	your	Deportation	Case	
The deportation process is extremely complicated. In order to fight your case as effectively as possible, you must have all of
the necessary documents. Below is a partial list of documents that you may need to help you understand and fight your
case. These are basic documents that every person should try to collect, though not every person will have every document.
Remember to keep copies of all your documents.

Make sure anyone helping you fight deportation has a copy of all relevant documents, too!


❑ Indictment
❑ Court minutes (especially plea allocution)
❑ Complete record of criminal conviction
❑ Defense attorney’s contact information and retainer agreement(s)
❑ Informant agreement
❑ Immigration interview paperwork copy
❑ Requests to and replies from attorney regarding consequences of criminal

❑ Arrest documents and wage/hour investigation papers (if you are a victim of a
crime or labor violation)


❑ Notice To Appear (NTA) or Order to Show Cause (OSC)
❑ Immigration judge decision
❑ I-155 Permanent Resident Card (green card)
❑ Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision
❑ Federal court decision(s)
❑ I-94 Arrival/Departure Card
❑ All briefs submitted to immigration and federal courts
❑ Immigration lawyer’s contact information and retainer agreement(s)
❑ Previous applications for relief from deportation

40 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

❑ Relevant correspondence to and from your consulate
❑ Evidence of equities (i.e. tax records, rehab certificates, diplomas, letters)
❑ Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
❑ Immigration arrest warrant(s)
❑ Voluntary removal papers

❑ Deportation Officer’s contact information
❑ I-352: Bond paperwork (with ICE or with bonding company)
❑ G-28 (Notice of Entry of Appearance)
❑ Order of supervision
❑ Complaints filed with DHS or the jails you have been in
❑ Notice of reinstatement of deportation order (for absconders, re-entrants)
❑ Information on Alternatives to Detention (for example, Intensive Supervision
Appearance Program—ISAP, G4)


❑ Warrant/Notice of Deportation (listing bars, etc)
❑ Power of Attorney
❑ Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) paperwork
❑ All of the above documents (as relevant to your case)

❑ Certificate of Naturalization
❑ Parents’ or Grandparents’ Certificate of Naturalization or passport
❑ U.S. government issued birth certificate (if you were born in the U.S. or its territories)
❑ U.S. issued passport
❑ Hospital records showing birth in the U.S.

Section 2: Detention and Deportation System 41

forms	of	relief	to	prevent	removal
Please note: This chart is not an exhaustive list of all forms of relief and does not provide all of the requirements and bars to the
forms of relief discussed. We recommend getting further advice when pursuing any forms of relief. This chart is based on a similar
document produced by Bryan Lonegan when he was with the Immigration Law Unit of the Legal Aid Society of New York. Revisions
of the chart have been provided by the National Immigration Project, the Immigrant Defense Project, and Detention Watch Network.

Form of Relief

Requirements and Bars

Adjustment of
Immigration Status

In general, an immigrant who has been admitted or paroled and who has an
approved petition can adjust status if s/he:

• Makes an application to adjust,
• Is eligible for an immigrant visa and is admissible, and
• Has an immigrant visa immediately available.
**NOTE: If the immigrant entered without inspection, a petition must have been filed
on or before April 30, 2001.
of Removal for
Lawful Permanent

A green card holder can apply for this waiver in immigration court if s/he:

212(c) Waiver for
Lawful Permanent

A green card holder can apply for this waiver if s/he:

• Has continuously resided in the US for 7 years before: (1) commission of a criminal

offense that results in him/her being removable, or (2) being served a Notice to
• Has had a green card for at least 5 years,
• Has positive factors that outweigh negative factors, and
• Has not been convicted of an aggravated felony.

• Has resided in the US for 7 years,
• Pled guilty before April 2, 1996 to an inadmissible offense or a deportable offense
referred to in the inadmissibility grounds,

• Has not served a term of imprisonment of 5 years or more, and
• Has positive factors that outweigh negative factors.
212(h) Waiver

A person can waive certain inadmissible offenses if the offense is not a drug offense
(unless it is a one-time simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana) and:

• Denial of the person’s admission would cause “extreme hardship” to a US citizen or
lawful permanent resident spouse, child, or parent

• Inadmissible activities occurred more than 15 years ago and the person is

• The person is only inadmissible for prostitution-related grounds and the person
is rehabilitated

**NOTE: If the person is a lawful permanent resident, s/he must not have been
convicted of an aggravated felony and must have resided in the US for
at least 7 years

42 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

Form of Relief

Requirements and Bars

Cancellation of
Removal for NonLawful Permanent

A person who is not a lawful permanent resident can apply for this waiver in immigration court and secure a green card if s/he:

VAWA Cancellation
of Removal

If a person’s spouse or parent is abusive, s/he can apply for this waiver to secure a
green card if s/he:

•• Has been continuously present in the US for 10 years before: (1) commission of an
offense that results in him/her being removable on criminal grounds, or (2) being
served a Notice to Appear,
•• Has demonstrated “good moral character” for at least 10 years, and
•• Can show that his/her deportation would cause “extreme hardship” to a US Citizen
or lawful permanent resident spouse, child, or parent.

•• Has been continuously present in the US for 3 years,
•• Demonstrates “good moral character,” and
•• Is admissible and does not have any aggravated felonies.
PersecutionBased Relief

These forms of relief are for people who are afraid of going back to their country of
Asylum – To qualify s/he:

•• Must be unable or unwilling to return based on a well-founded fear of persecution

on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group, or political
•• Generally must apply within 1 year of arrival to US, and
•• Must not be convicted of an aggravated felony or a “particularly serious crime”
Withholding of Removal – This form of relief prohibits a person’s removal.
To qualify s/he:

•• Must show that his/her life or freedom would be threatened because of race, reli-

gion, nationality, membership in a social group, or political opinion, and
•• Must not be convicted of a “particularly serious crime” or aggravated felonies with
an aggregate sentence of 5 years or more
Convention Against Torture – This form of relief prohibits a person’s removal.
To qualify s/he:

•• Must show that s/he would suffer severe pain and suffering in the country of
•• Must show that the pain or suffering would be intentionally inflicted for an illicit
purpose by or at the instigation or with the acquiescence of a public official, and
•• Must show that the pain or suffering would not arise from a lawful sanction.
Special Immigrant
Juvenile Status

A juvenile can be eligible for SIJS if s/he:

•• Has been deemed to require long-term foster care by a juvenile court OR has been
committed to the custody of a state agency due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment, and
•• Is less than 21 years of age and unmarried at the time the application for SIJS is

Section 2: Detention and Deportation System 43

Form of Relief

Requirements and Bars

Special Visas (S, T,
and U)

These visas require cooperation by law enforcement.
S Visa:

•• For people who provide important information about a criminal or terrorist

T Visa:

•• For victims of trafficking.
U Visa:

•• For people who have suffered substantial harm as a result of being the victim of
a crime.

Temporary Protected
Status (TPS)

A person can secure temporary permission to stay in the US and work lawfully if s/he:

Voluntary Departure

A person can get 120 days to leave on his/her own and not get an order of removal if

•• Is from a designated country (such as Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras),
•• Is admissible, and
•• Does not have any felonies or 2 or more misdemeanors.

•• Does not have any aggravated felonies,
•• Has not previously been ordered removed, and
•• Is not an “arriving alien”
If a person requests voluntary departure at the end of removal proceedings, s/he can
get 60 days to leave on his/her own if s/he:

•• Has been physically present in the US for 1 year or more, and
•• Demonstrates “good moral character” for five or more years.

44 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

What’s Next After Immigration Court
After the immigration judge (I J) makes a decision on your
case, you or the Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(ICE) attorneys have the opportunity to file an appeal on the
decision. Often, once you have your last hearing in immigration court, the rest of the deportation proceeding is a paper
process – that is, you will submit motions and file briefs to
various places, but more than likely will not return to see
a judge, unless your case is remanded from a higher court
back to the IJ.
If you are ordered deported in immigration court, you can
appeal the I J’s decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals
(BIA). The BIA reviews appeals of IJ decisions, reviews
motions to reopen or reconsider, and can issue final orders
of deportation. Appeals of IJ decisions must be filed within
30 days of the decision date.
If the BIA denies your appeal you have 30 days to file a Petition for Review to the federal circuit court of appeals that
has jurisdiction over your case. The circuit court that has
jurisdiction over your case is based on the location of the
immigration court where you were ordered removed. For
example, if you are a resident of New York, but the immigration judge ordered deportation on your case while you
were being detained in Texas, you must file the Petition for

Review in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over cases from Texas. But keep in mind that there is
only limited review available in federal court.
Please note: Since the REAL ID Act passed in
2005, the federal district courts no longer can
hear petitions challenging removal orders.
The district court can only hear writ of habeas
corpus petitions challenging your custody in
detention. Appeals on a writ of habeas corpus
decision by the district court can be filed to the
federal circuit court that has jurisdiction over
your case.
If the federal circuit court denies your Petition for Review,
you have 45 days to file a writ of certiorari to the US Supreme
Court. The Supreme Court reviews circuit court of appeals
decisions. It only chooses to accept a very limited number
of cases.
Keep in mind: You may be deported even if you have
appeals or petitions pending! You should consider filing
a Motion for a Stay of Removal along with any motion to
reopen or reconsider or any Petition for Review.

Section 2: Detention and Deportation System 45

Combating Financial Consequences of 	
Detention and Deportation
Since 1996, over 2.2 million immigrants have been deported.
Hundreds of thousands of families are torn apart each year
by the cruel immigration laws of this country. The personal
costs of these laws are tremendous. The financial costs can
be, too. Here, we’ll discuss some of the most common financial challenges related to detention and deportation and
how to combat them.
This is not an exhaustive list. Please see Families for Freedom’s Financial Handbook for Families Facing Deportation for more detailed information on how to fight the
negative consequences of detention and deportation at:

1. Managing Your Bank Account

sure all parts of your question get answered in a satisfactory way.
To manage your accounts, some options include:
1) opening a bank account
2) turning an existing account into a joint account
3) closing your account
4) transferring all funds to another account
5) keeping your U.S. account and/or
6) online banking.

2. Maintaining and Protecting Your Credit

Detention and deportation can affect your credit in a number of ways. It may be difficult to pay your bills when you are
in detention, fighting deportation, or have been deported.
This is true because you might not be working due to detention, your immigration case may interrupt your work, you
may be looking for a job in your home country, or you may
make significantly less money in your home country. It is
also physically difficult to pay your
bills because of the way in which
What is credit?
mail works, both in detention and

Managing your bank account needs special attention when
you are in detention or deportation proceedings. You may
also need to provide proof that is difficult to get a hold of in
detention or from abroad. Some banks may try to require
you to appear in person to make changes to your account
– and that’s obviously not possible if you are detained or
Since each bank is different, you will
need to call your bank to discuss what
steps need to be taken to manage
your account the way you want. Here
are some things to keep in mind:

•• Before you call, plan out what
information you need from the
bank and the questions you need
to ask.

•• During the call, do not be afraid
to take a minute to think through
their answers to your questions,
to think through your problem
aloud, or to ask follow-up questions. Banks are used to answering
routine questions and the help you
need may require more elaboration than they are used to.

•• Be wary of answers that seem to

e w y
Credit allows you to borrow money.
Your credit rating grades how responsible of a borrower you are. The credit
bureaus are companies that keep
track of whether or not you have paid
your bills. Based on this information,
they rate your credit and share your
credit rating with employers, lenders,
and banks.
Three major credit bureaus:
•	 Equifax (800) 525-6285
•	 Experian (888) 397-3742
•	 TransUnion (800) 680-7289

easy. Sometimes customer service
people focus on one part of your question and ignore
other important issues you are concerned about. Make

46 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

Still, you likely want to continue
paying your debts. Bills such as
mortgages, credit card bills, car
payments, or legal payments like
child support or restitution unfortunately don’t just go away.
To help maintain your credit,
you can:

•• Monitor your mail for bills
•• Arrange for someone you trust
to take power of attorney

•• Manage your bank account
•• Negotiate with creditors/bill collectors about payment plans

In addition to arranging for your
bills to be paid, another common
credit problem that people experience due to detention
and/or deportation is identity theft. Some people have been
released from detention facilities and won their cases, only

to find that they have had their identity stolen and credit
the amount of time it takes to receive mail in detention or
history ruined. While there are many possible explanations
internationally, deadlines for responding may pass before
for why this happens – officials get access to lots of private
you even get your mail. That is why monitoring your mail
information while you are in detention or
is your best policy when your
are being deported, you may have given
case is ongoing. (Also, rather
private information to untrustworthy attorthan relying on mail alone, folWATCH OUT FOR BAIL
neys or notarios, or relationships with famlowing up directly by phone
ily members might have taken a bad turn
with the Executive Office for
•• Bail bondsmen charge a nonre– a big contributing factor is the fact that
Immigration Review on matfundable
you will not be able to monitor your credit
ters concerning your case is
loved ones.
and expenses like you did before. While it is
a good idea. The number for
possible to recover from identity theft, it is
Case Information is 1-800•• Bail bondsmen may ask for collatmuch easier to monitor and protect your898-7180, or, for persons with
eral and may report failure to pay
self before your credit is compromised.
hearing impairments, dial
to credit reporting agencies.
Federal laws explicitly provide consumers
•• An immigration bond is a conwith rights as victims of identity theft or
fraud. Most importantly, once you report
the identity theft, you cannot be held liable
for subsequent unauthorized charges. Also,
your liability as a victim of identity theft or
fraud cannot exceed $50.
Some ways you can work to protect
your credit:

•• Monitor your bank account for fraud and
monitor your mail

•• Monitor your credit by requesting a free credit report from places

•• Put a 90-day or extended fraud alert
on your credit file by calling the credit

•• Freeze your credit by contacting each

When your immigration
case is over, you will want to
make sure your mail is forwarded to your most current
address. Forwarding your
mail is important for a num•• As part of the contract, ICE may
ber of reasons. First, it is hard
contact the bail bondsmen to
to keep up on your finances
have the bonded noncitizen
and other valuable communiappear for a hearing, interview,
cations when you do not get
or removal.  You should have
your mail. Also, as outlined
an understanding with the bail
previously, many people in
bondsmen about how s/he will
detention and deportation
communicate with you if s/he
experience identity theft.
receives such a form! This should
Identity theft can frequently
be a written agreement!!!!!!
happen when mail continues
to get sent to an old address
where other people can easily steal your identity – and money – using the informaof the credit
tion from your mail. Go to the U.S. Postal Service website to find out about forwarding
your mail.

tract between the person posting
bond and ICE. If you choose
to use a bail bondsman, that
contract exists between the bail
bondsmen and ICE.

•• Dispute charges or accounts
•• Cancel a tampered account
•• File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and/
or police

3. Forwarding Your Mail
If you are in detention or have already been
deported, a loved one should monitor your
mail for you. If your immigration case is still ongoing, you
will usually have a very short amount of time to respond to
any notices you receive. You should contact the immigration court and ask them to change your address. But with

4. Getting Bond Money Back
Most people have to post a bond in order to get released
from detention (“delivery bond”). People also have to post a
bond if they receive voluntary departure (“voluntary departure bond”).
The person who posted your bond should get that money
back when you are deported or the proceedings against you
have ended. You will not get the bond money back; the person who paid it will. If a bail bondsman paid your bond, that
money goes back to him, not you.
Section 2: Detention and Deportation System 47

Your bond money will never be returned, however, if you
“breach” your bond. Do not breach your bond if you want
the person who posted it to get that money back! Breach

•• Not showing up for an immigration hearing (even one)
•• Not showing up at other events where your presence is

•• Not departing the US on or before the date specified in
the order granting voluntary departure.
On the other hand, the person who paid should get your
bond money back when any of the following events occur
(provided you have not already breached your bond):

•• You win your immigration case (which means you are
granted permanent residence or deportation proceedings are terminated)

NOTE: Administrative closure or stay of proceedings do
not count

•• ICE takes you back into its custody
•• You are deported
•• You are issued a new delivery or voluntary departure

•• You are detained for 30 or more days pursuant, or prior, to
a local, state, or federal conviction and ICE is given notice

•• You pass away
•• You present valid proof of your voluntary departure
To get bond back more easily:
Keep a copy of all of the paperwork you receive that’s related
to your bond, including:

48 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

•• A copy of the completed I-325 Immigration Bond Form
•• The completed original I-305 or I-300 Bond Receipt Form
These documents are your proof that the government has
made a contract with you and you are owed money.

(5) Social Security Benefits
The Social Security Administration (SSA) runs several government benefits programs, including Social Security retirement benefits, disability benefits, and supplement security
income (SSI). Each of these programs has its own set of
complicated rules that become even more complicated
in the context of detention and deportation. For example,
nobody, regardless of citizenship, can receive SSI during
periods where they are outside of the US for more than a
calendar month. You should contact the SSA directly to
learn specific information about your individual situation: (800)772-1213.

Can I Return to the US After Being Deported?

Under the Obama administration, the United States
deported over 298,000 people in 2009. This was a 13 percent increase from 2008. Every year, these deportations tear
apart thousands of families, communities, and businesses.
Naturally, many people want to return to the communities
they were forced to leave behind. Unfortunately, it is very
difficult to return to the US after being deported. Many
people will never be able to return. In addition, if people
who were previously deported return to the US without
authorization, they can face strict criminal prosecution and
Still, people who were deported can try to apply to the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for readmission.
Furthermore, families in the United States can begin to collectively pressure the US government by leveraging the
power of Congress members and the media, to reunite with
their loved ones.
In order to return to the United States after being deported,
you must overcome two barriers: First, you must have a basis
to apply for permission to come to the US. Second, you must
apply for and receive one or more waivers to remove any
applicable bars to reentry. There are no “official steps” that,
upon completion, will win return, and it does not happen
often. Generally, however, you will have to take the following steps:

1. Apply for permission to enter the US
This step requires that you have a basis for coming back
to the US. For example, you might get a family member or
employer in the US to sponsor you for a green card. Please
note that many people who are deported may never be able
to return with a green card, for example people deported
due to an aggravated felony conviction.

If you aren’t eligible to apply for a green card, you might
still be able to return with a non-immigrant visa. To get a
non-immigrant visa, you must prove that you are seeking
a temporary visit to the US which relates to a specific nonimmigrant visa category. For most non-immigrant visas,
you will also have to prove that you do not have “immigrant
intent,” which is the intention to permanently live in the
US. Because many deportees have strong family, employment, and social ties to the US, you might have to prove that
you have equally strong ties to your country of nationality
to show that you don’t have “immigrant intent.” Evidence
should include a statement of purpose for the visit, round
trip tickets, and documents establishing ties to your country of origin. You must meet all of the requirements for the
requested non-immigrant visa and prove that you do not
have immigrant intent before a consular officer will review
any waivers.

2. Determine bars to reentry
Every person who is deported is barred from returning to
the US for a certain number of years. People with criminal
convictions have additional bars that prevent admission to
the US. You will have to determine which grounds of inadmissibility and bars to entry/reentry apply to you. Some of
these bars are summarized in the attached chart.

3. File waivers for bars, if available
For each bar to entry, you will have to file a waiver asking
the US government to pardon the ground of inadmissibility or bar to reentry in order to allow you to return earlier
than allowed. To return with a green card, you may need to
file: Form I-601 (Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability) or Form I-212 (Application for Permission to Reapply
for Admission into the United States after Deportation or
Removal). Most applications require payment of a fee, and
your particular situation might require other forms or applications as well. Some people may not have waivers available
to them for the type of visa they are seeking.
For a non-immigrant visa, you can waive most bars under
INA Section 212(d)(3) (including the bar for being ordered
removed after a conviction for an aggravated felony). The
consulate will consider the following three factors when
adjudicating the waiver: 1) the risk of harm to society if
you are admitted; 2) the seriousness of your prior immi-

Section 2: Detention and Deportation System 49

gration law or criminal law violations; and 3) the nature of
your reasons for seeking entry into the US. If the consulate
recommends the waiver, it will then forward the request
to the DHS Admissibility Review Office which will review
the waiver using the three factors mentioned above. DHS
approves most consular waiver recommendations within
1 - 4 months. There is no specific form or fee necessary to
file for the INA Section 212(d)(3) waiver. Nevertheless, you
should write a letter addressing the reason for the temporary visit, the three factors listed above, and any evidence
bolstering your “good moral character.”

50 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

4. In some situations, it may be useful
to take additional steps to support your
application – for example, through media
coverage and political advocacy.
You can refer to the A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing
Manual in this packet for more information on how to tell
your story, to highlight your favorable factors, and to work
with media and politicians.
For more information, you can check out materials available
through Boston College’s Post-Deportation Human Rights
Project at

Analyze eligibility for Readmission: CollectiNG 
❑❑ Submit Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to get copies of your immigration file. You should submit one

request to the Department of Homeland Security and one request to the Executive Office of Immigration Review. The
government generally takes several months (at least) to respond to FOIA requests, so you should do this right away. There
is usually no fee, unless the file is very large. Sometimes all of your files will be mailed to you on a compact disc (CD).

❑❑ Collect all immigration and criminal records. Many should be in the immigration file you are requesting through the
FOIA (above). The following documents are particularly important:

____ Order to Show Cause or Notice to Appear (lists immigration charges)
____ Every decision of the immigration judge
____ Every decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals
____ Every federal court decision in the immigration case
____ Warrant/Notice of Deportation or other papers given by government upon deportation
____ Record of Conviction or Certificate of Disposition for every criminal arrest
____ Rap sheet. If you can’t get a rap sheet, then ask your family member to list every arrest, its date, and the outcome
(as much as they remember).

❑❑ Begin to collect documentation of the “favorable factors” in your life. This is a list of all of the positive aspects of your
life, such as school and employment records, involvement with religious or community groups, evidence of rehabilitation
if applicable. You should also gather information about your US citizen and legal permanent resident family members,
and documentation about how your absence creates financial, emotional and other hardships for them. Some waivers
require evidence of this hardship, and it will strengthen most applications.

❑❑ If applying for a non-immigrant visa, collect all evidence relating to your ties to your home country. This can include birth
certificates, marriage certificates, licensing certificates, property deeds, employment contracts, affidavits describing
participation in community and religious organizations, school records and diplomas, bank account documents, proof
of other assets, etc.

Section 2: Detention and Deportation System 51

People who have been deported face a number of obstacles in returning to the US. The following charts list bars to reentry
and common criminal grounds of inadmissibility. Other inadmissibility grounds and their waivers are not discussed here (for
example, inadmissibility relating to HIV and other health-related grounds, document fraud). Remember, if more than one bar
applies to you, then every bar must be waived in order to be readmitted to the US.

Bar to

Waiver for
Immigrant Visa

Unlawful presence in US for less than 6 months

No Bar

Unlawful presence in US for over 6 months and less
than 1 year

3 years

Unlawful presence in US for one year or longer

10 years

Ordered removed on inadmissibility grounds

5 years

Ordered removed on deportability grounds

10 years

Ordered excluded/deported under pre-1996 laws

10 years

Ordered removed two times

20 years

Failed to attend removal hearing

5 years

Probably yes.

Ordered removed after a conviction for an
aggravated felony



Yes. Form I-601.

Yes. Form I-212.

Waiver for NonImmigrant Visa

Most bars can be
waived for nonimmigrant visa
applicants under
INA Section 212(d)
(3). May need
Forms I-192 and/
or I-212.

*There may be arguments that the bars to reentry for people deported under pre-1996 laws are shorter.

A wide range of offenses makes a person inadmissible, or ineligible to be admitted to the US. This is a summary of
some of the grounds of inadmissibility, and whether they can be waived.

Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT)
Not inadmissible if a) only 1 CIMT, which had
maximum possible sentence of one year or less and
actual sentence of 6 months or less; or b) only 1 CIMT
committed by minor and conviction and jail were
more than 5 years before application for admission.
2 or more offenses of any kind, for which you
received total sentences of 5 years or longer
Prostitution, commercialized vice

Drug offense

52 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

Waiver for Immigrant Visa

Waiver for NonImmigrant Visa

212(h) waiver available. Form
I-601. This waiver requires showing
one of the following: a) denial
of admission will cause extreme
hardship to U.S. citizen or LPR
spouse, parent, or child OR b)
crime is at least 15 years old
(not required for prostitution/
commercial vice), you have been
rehabilitated and allowing you
into US would not harm its safety
or security. Additional waivers for
domestic violence situations.

Most grounds of
inadmissibility can be
waived for non-immigrant visa applicants
under Section 212(d)
(3) of the INA. However,
“212(d)(3)” cannot
waive some “national
security” inadmissibility
grounds (for example,

212(h) waiver available only
for single conviction for simple
possession of 30 grams or less of
marihuana. Form I-601.


Section 3:
ICE in
the Criminal
Justice System

n this section,
we talk about the
process through
which immigrants who get arrested end up in the detention and
deportation system. We call this the criminal-immigration pipeline.
We start off by talking about how this pipeline works – specifically, how Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(ICE) works with local police to ensure that immigrants in the criminal justice system get funneled straight into
deportation. Most typically, we explain, this happens through Agreements of Cooperation in Communities to
Enhance Safety and Security (ACCESS) programs that ICE enters into with local enforcement agencies. We provide an overview of ICE ACCESS. Then we go more in-depth to look at the main ICE ACCESS programs focusing
on the criminal justice system: Criminal Alien Program, Secure Communities, and 287(g). We also discuss why
these programs are so problematic.
Next we walk through steps of the criminal justice system, from arrest to conviction and beyond. Along the way,
we examine the ways in which ICE ACCESS operates within this system. And we look more carefully at detainers, the primary tool ICE uses
to snag people into detention
and deportation.

Photo by Mizue Aizeki

Finally, we take a look at why
this all matters so much. We
examine the different immigration consequences that having
a criminal conviction abring
and what types of convictions
should be avoided (basically,
most of them!). We end with a
reference chart of the types of
criminal convictions that result
in deportation and ineligibility
for citizenship, and some suggested approaches – from a
criminal defense lawyer’s view
– to help immigrants stay in
the US.

Section 3: ICE Enforcement 53

The Pipeline from the Criminal Justice System to the
Deportation System: An Overview
The criminal justice system is now
the primary pipeline into the deportation system. This is as a result
of local and state police now collaborating with Immigration and
Customs Enforcement (ICE) on a
regular basis. Through Agreements
of Cooperation in Communities to Enhance Safety and Security (ACCESS) programs, police pass on information to ICE
about suspected noncitizens in their custody and refer them
to ICE for deportation. (See the section on ICE ACCESS programs in this manual.) In the first quarter of 2010, 43 percent
of noncitizens in immigration detention had had some kind
of contact with the criminal justice system.1
Even though immigration laws have long penalized noncitizens with convictions, laws passed in 1996 made deportation a mandatory minimum for both documented and
undocumented immigrants who have had almost any kind
of conviction. These new enforcement programs have been
created to shuttle people from the criminal justice system
into the deportation system, creating an airtight pipeline.

The result is that for many immigrants who have ever had
contact with the criminal justice system, detention and
deportation is now an unfair second punishment. In 2008,
37 percent of deportees were deported because of a criminal charge or conviction.2
Find out what kinds of agreements your local or county
police department has with ICE so you know when and
how ICE targets immigrants in your community through
the criminal justice system. It’s not always easy to figure
out which programs are operating and how – or if there
is no program operating but the police still have informal
arrangements set up with ICE. Learning as much as you can
about how these relationships work is key to being able to
challenge them effectively.

1	TRAC Immigration, “Detention of Criminal Aliens: What Has Congress
2	 Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics,
Tables 36 and 37 of 2008 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics. http://

The Facts about ICE ACCESS
ICE Agreements of Cooperation in Communities to Enhance
Safety and Security (ACCESS):
A series of different programs and services designed to enhance
the cooperation of local law enforcement agencies with ICE in
enforcing immigration laws.

Incentive for participation in ICE ACCESS?

➨➨ Equitable sharing in asset forfeiture
➨➨ Increased jurisdiction & legal enforcement authority
➨➨ Increased resources (Advanced Enforcement Technology/

54 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

Criminal Alien
Program (Cap)







Security Task
Force (Bests)
Document &
Benefit Fraud


Support Center

Property Rights

Deputizes state and local officers to enforce immigration laws as authorized by section 287(g) of the
Immigration and Nationality Act. State, county, and
municipal enforcement agencies are cross-designated
immigration officers pursuant to memorandums of
agreement entered into with ICE and some immigration training.
Allows ICE agents to seize and forfeit illicit proceeds
from criminal organizations. The proceeds of these forfeitures are deposited into the Treasury Forfeiture Fund
and help pay for a variety of enforcement operations.

Teams (Fots)

Agencies working cooperatively to identify and dismantle criminal organizations posing threats to border
security. BEST teams now appear in Arizona, California,
Texas, and Washington with plans to expand to Buffalo,
New York.
Focuses on identifying noncitizens who are incarcerated in federal, state and local facilities. Secures a
person’s final order of removal prior to completion of
a criminal sentence to avoid his/her release into the

Section 3: ICE Enforcement 55

Section 1401(I) of Title 19 of the United States Code
allows for deputizing federal, state, and local officers
as customs officers to enforce U.S. customs laws. This
cross-designation is available to those who participate
in ICE task force operations.
Investigates document and benefit fraud with local,
state and other federal agency cooperation. Illicit proceeds are often seized and subject to equitable sharing of asset forfeiture. DBFTFs are located in Atlanta,
Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los
Angeles, Miami, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Phoenix, St. Paul, San Francisco, Tampa, and Washington, DC.
Teams of ICE and state and local enforcement agencies
identify, locate, apprehend, process, and remove fugitives. The goal of FOTs is to ensure that the number of
noncitizens deported equals the number of final orders
of removal issued by immigration courts in any given
past, present, or future year.
ICE’s National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination
Center enforces laws prohibiting the flow of counterfeit
goods into U.S. commerce. The goal is to pursue illegal
proceeds derived from the manufacture and sale of
counterfeit merchandise.
Collaboration in which local, state, and federal law
enforcement agencies gain 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-aweek access to immigration status and identity information on immigrants suspected, arrested, or convicted of criminal activity. LESC also provides assistance
and information to corrections and court systems. ICE
makes LESC records available electronically through
the Immigration Alien Query screen on the International Justice and Public Safety Network.

56 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

Initiated in February 2005 to focus enforcement on
violent gangs. ICE uses its broad authority, both criminal and administrative, to conduct investigations and
enforce violations committed by alleged gangs and
alleged individual gang members.
ICE Financial, Narcotics and Public Safety Division and
the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field
Operations, Tactical Operations Division developed a
joint Bulk Cash Smuggling (smuggling of bulk currency
out of the US) initiative that commenced operations in
August 2005.
Program designed to identify, investigate, and deport
sex offenders. ICE coordinates with foreign law enforcement in these efforts.
A joint partnership with state and parole agencies to
allow for the early release of noncitizens who have nonviolent convictions and final orders of removal from
state custody to ICE custody in order to effectuate their
Program through which ICE assists works with local
law enforcement to identify and remove noncitizens
held in prisons and jails through information sharing
and technology. The cornerstone of this initiative is
to share biometric data with federal, state and local
enforcement agencies to screen all foreign-born persons in criminal custody.
**	For more information about these programs, check out
materials like NILC’s “Overview of the Key ICE ACCESS Programs: 287(g), the Criminal Alien Program, and Secure Communities.”

Dangerous Merger: Corrupting the Criminal Justice System for
Immigration Enforcement by the Immigrant Justice Network

Dangerous merger:


Corrupting the criminal justice system for
immigration enforcement
Why pouring billions of dollars into CAP, 287(g), and
Secure Communities subverts the criminal justice
system, erodes due process, and makes us less safe

287 (g):
Contracts with state and local police and jail
officials to enforce immigration laws

Secure Communities:
Questions and Answers:
What is the connection between immigration
enforcement and the criminal justice system?
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency within the
Department of Homeland Security charged with detaining and
deporting immigrants, uses local law enforcement and jails in its
enforcement operations. The ICE ACCESS initiative combines 13
programs with the goal of using local criminal justice systems—the
courts, jails, and police—to hunt down people deemed to be “criminal
aliens.”1 The Criminal Alien Program (CAP), 287(g) Agreements, and
Secure Communities initiative are the three most well-known ACCESS
programs used to accomplish this goal.2 ICE spent over $1 billion on
these programs in FY 2009.3 FY 2010 funding is projected to be nearly
$1.5 billion.

The alleged target: “criminal aliens” who
commit serious offenses
• The term ”criminal alien“ is used to describe any noncitizen who has
been arrested or convicted for any criminal offense, regardless of
the severity of the person’s crime or whether s/he is undocumented
or has lawful immigration status. Under current laws and practices,
ICE is classifying increasingly alarming numbers of noncitizens as
”criminal aliens.“ This ”criminal alien“ dragnet is being used to
indiscriminately target, apprehend, and deport ever larger numbers
of noncitizens, including long-time green card holders with U.S.
citizen spouses and children. Since Fall 2006, ICE has identified and
charged over 450,000 noncitizens through CAP, with increasingly
more immigrants charged each year.4
• While ICE claims to target serious criminals, the Government
Accountability Office in the March 2009 review of the 287(g)
program found that ICE failed to meet this goal, and was
aggressively focusing on “easier” targets—those who are charged
with minor offenses, like shoplifting and even traffic violations.5

How do these programs refer immigrants in the
criminal justice system to ICE?
Local police and jails collect immigration information on all people
arrested (e.g. booking or at arrest), share this information with ICE, and
allow ICE to interrogate defendants in jail. ICE also encourages local
law enforcement officials to use integrated criminal-immigration
databases and ICE fingerprint checks. A “detainer,” or an immigration
“hold,” is placed on those in custody, preventing their release from jail

Uses technology and databases to identify,
detain, and deport “criminal aliens” in
federal, state, and local facilities

Criminal Alien
Relies on jail officials, police, and
the courts to identify “criminal
aliens” incarcerated within federal,
state, and local facilities

Detainer damage: a misused and
mishandled tool
• The immigration “detainer” is the key tool used by ICE to apprehend
noncitizens in the criminal justice system. When booked into jail,
noncitizens often unknowingly respond to questions about where
they were born. The jail provides this information to ICE, who then
files a detainer on the person. The detainer permits the jail to detain
immigrants beyond their criminal case so that ICE can pick them up
for deportation. In Irving, TX, 60% of people who had detainers
placed on them were arrested for low-level offenses, such as
speeding, public intoxication, misdemeanor assault, and theft. 6
• Under the law, a detainer only permits a jail to hold the person for a
48-hour period. However, noncitizens frequently remain in jail beyond
the 48 hour limit. ICE does not provide proper guidance to jail officials
on detainer authority, including the 48-hour limitation or ways to lift
the detainer when it is erroneously lodged against someone. ICE
detainers mean that noncitizen defendants are being held in jail for
much longer periods than citizens. For example, in Travis County,
Texas, “the 2007 average length of stay for all non-ICE misdemeanants was 8.2 days. For those ICE detainers with misdemeanor
violations, the average length of stay in 2007 was 28 days—this is
nearly four times the length of stay for non-ICE inmates.” 7

and ensuring that they will be released only to ICE. Any suspicion of
noncitizen status means the person gets referred to ICE for deportation.

How effective are these programs?
There are no government regulations or any other procedural mechanisms in place to ensure effective oversight, accountability, or redress.

Continued on reverse...

...continued from previous page

Dangerous merger: Corrupting the criminal justice system for

immigration enforcement

While rounding up “criminal aliens” sounds good, these programs actually subvert the criminal justice
system, erode due process, and make us less safe
There is no immigrant crime wave
Despite rhetoric that the “criminal alien” population is on the rise,
studies show that immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born
citizens, and that a high proportion of immigrants in a neighborhood is
associated with lower rates of crime.8 A California study, a state with
more immigrants than any other, concluded the foreign-born are
incarcerated at a rate half as high as their presence in the population.9
According to the latest Justice Department statistics available,
noncitizen prisoners accounted for only 5.9% of the combined federal
and state prisoner population.10
Jeopardizes Community Safety
Increasingly, police departments are targeting immigrants for
arrests—often on minor violations— that result in deportation.
This diverts resources away from law enforcement’s primary role of
promoting community safety. Scholars and police chiefs alike worry
that using local law enforcement to pursue immigrants sabotages
“sound and well established policing practices.”11 For example, in
Maricopa County, Arizona, where Sheriff Arpaio has shifted resources
to controlling illegal immigration, FBI statistics show that violent crime
is up by 69%, murder is up 166%, robbery is up 74%, property crime is
up 26%, and burglary is up 25%.

The North Carolina case:
How 287(g) Increased Racial Profiling
• With eight active 287(g) agreements, North Carolina has
become a national testing ground for programs between ICE
and local enforcement. Local police set up roadblocks for the
purpose of checking licenses outside of Latino markets on the
weekends and on Sundays. They also station themselves at
roads that provide access to Latino churches.13 Johnson
County Sheriff Steve Bizzell has stated that “they
[immigrants] are breeding like rabbits,” and that they “rape,
rob and murder American citizens.”14 Despite this attempt to
link immigrants to violent crime, in one North Carolina county,
83% of immigrants arrested in one month by ICE-authorized
police officers were charged with traffic violations.15 Still,
criminal alien programs do not require data collection on race
or ethnicity to verify that racial profiling does not exist.

Fosters bias against immigrants in our criminal
justice system
Misguided policies against suspected immigrants, legal or undocumented, by judges and our criminal court systems are on the rise.
Treating immigrants differently than U.S. citizens in our criminal justice
system subverts the core purpose of our legal system to enforce equal
treatment of the law. In Harris County, TX, the district attorney who has
vowed to fight illegal immigration proposed to bar plea deals for people
who refuse to provide citizenship information. This is in violation of
state law. State legislatures and judges are abandoning time-tested
bail provisions to create blanket no-bail policies for noncitizens with
detainers—regardless of the severity of the crime—even though there
is “no conclusive research to show that illegal immigrants are more
likely than their U.S.-born counterparts to abscond on state charges
while out on bail.”12
Violates the basic promises of fairness and due
process at the core of our legal system
Long ago the U.S. Supreme Court held that our Constitution requires
that people accused of a crime be given the right to remain silent and
the right to have a court-appointed attorney to defend these and other
due process rights. Under immigration law, immigrants have far fewer
due process rights, including no right to an attorney until after they
have incriminated themselves, and no right to an appointed attorney
ever. Arresting immigrants, locking them up in jail, interrogating them
without lawyers, and then using this illegally obtained information to
prosecute and deport them is un-American.

The Immigrant Justice Network is a collaborative formed in 2006 with the Immigrant Legal
Resource Center, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers’ Guild, the
Washington Defender Association’s Immigration Project, and the Immigrant
Defense Project to advocate on behalf of noncitizens facing unjust immigration penalties as a result of being entangled with the criminal justice system.

Footnote citations can be found on:

Overview of the Criminal Justice System

START: Police Stop/Arrest


ARRESTEE IN JAIL (Pre/Post Bail Hearing)


CRIMINAL CHARGES & DISPOSITION (plea/trial/dismissal/sentence)

POST-CONVICTION (appeal, completion of sentence, release from criminal custody, probation)

Section 3: ICE Enforcement 59

How ICE ACCESS Programs 	
Interact with the Criminal Justice System
•• 287(g) task force officers target noncitizens for civil

Police Stop/Arrest

immigration enforcement
•• Police check National Crime Information Center (NCIC)
database for immigration law violators
•• Police informally question detained people re immigration
status, report to ICE

•• Checks in FBI & Secure Communities databases to

Booking Into Jail
After Arrest

identify noncitizens in system
•• 287(g) Jail Enforcement Teams target arrestees for
interviews re: immigration status
•• Under CAP, ICE gets place of birth and other booking
biographic info, which they use to ID noncitizens to

•• Using info from Secure Communities database
check or jail interview through CAP, ICE or 287(g)
officer issues detainer
Arrestee In Jail
(Pre/Post Bail Hearing)

•• Detainer triggers judge to deny bail, OR
•• Judge grants bail (usually higher due to detainer). If

bail is posted, detainer is triggered and noncitizen
goes into immigration custody/ detention and removal
proceedings are initiated.

•• While in custody, ICE or 287(g) officer conducts initial/

Criminal Charges and Disposition
(plea trial/dismissal/sentence)

additional interview of noncitizen
•• During or shortly subsequent to interview, ICE or 287(g)
officer initiates paperwork for removal process (for
example, stipulated removal, NTA, expedited removal,
referral for
illegal reentry prosecution).

•• Completion of sentence and release triggers

Post Conviction
(appeal, completion of sentence,
release from criminal custody,

60 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

immigration detainer; noncitizen goes into ICE
•• Referral to US attorney for illegal reentry

How ICE ACCESS Programs 	
Interact with the Criminal Justice System
(adapted from Washington State Defender Association Immigration Project, National Immigration Project, National
Immigration Project of the NLG, and Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Dec. 2009)
287(g) Jail
Teams target
arrestees for
interviews re:

Under CAP,
ICE gets place
of birth and
other booking biographic
info, which
they use to ID
noncitizens to

Booking Into
Jail After

Using info
from Secure
database check
or jail interview,
ICE or 287(g)
officer issues

Arrestee in
Jail (Pre/Post
Bail Hearing)

Checks in
FBI & Secure
databases to
ID noncitizens
in system

Police Stop/

287(g) task force
probation) noncitizens
for civil immigration

judge to
deny bail,

Police informally
question detained
people re immigration status,
report to ICE

Police check National Crime
Information Center (NCIC)
database for immigration
law violators

While in
custody, ICE or
287(g) officer
conducts initial/additional
interview of


Judge grants bail
(usually higher due
to detainer). If bail is
posted, detainer is triggered and noncitizen
goes into immigration
custody/ detention
and removal proceedings are initiated.

(appeal, completion
of sentence, release
from criminal custody,

During or shortly
subsequent to
interview, ICE or
287(g) officer initiates paperwork
for removal process (e.g., stipulated removal,
NTA, expedited
removal, referral
for illegal reentry

Criminal Charges
& Disposition

Referral to
US attorney
for illegal


Completion of sentence and release triggers
immigration detainer; noncitizen goes into
ICE custody/detention

Section 3: ICE Enforcement 61

Booking at the Police Station: Know Your Rights!
If you are arrested for a
crime, you will likely be
booked at the police station. During book ing,
police typically search
you, remove your personal
property, take your fingerprints, check their computers for outstanding warrants, and ask you questions.
Sometimes, officers will swab your mouth for their DNA
Although the purpose of booking is to ensure that the
police have the right person in their custody, it is also used
to collect immense amounts of information about you that
could be transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Unfortunately, you are not legally entitled to
counsel during this time.
Police, ICE, and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) work
closely together behind the scenes, especially during booking. Immigration officers may try to interview you by phone,
video or in-person during booking.

Risky encounters during booking:

•• Fingerprints: Under many
ICE enforcement programs,
including Secure Communities, fingerprints taken at
booking will now be sent to
ICE. If you had contact with
ICE before, your information
will likely be in the system. As
a result, a detainer could be
place on you very quickly.

•• Interviews: During booking, ICE or CBP officers may
try to interview you or may be present in the booking
area. Make sure you ask for the identification of whoever is interviewing you. You do not have to answer
questions from ICE officers at this time.

62 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

•• Booking forms: Police will ask questions of you to fill
out the “rap sheet” or booking forms. The forms typically request place of birth or country of citizenship.
Often, jails create lists of people with “foreign places
of birth” and send them to ICE.

Your rights during booking:
•• You have the right to remain silent. Do not volunteer
information about your immigration status.

•• You have the right to not sign documents. Especially
if you don’t understand the documents you are given
– even if that includes your booking form – don’t sign

•• You have the right to not speak with ICE at all. Ask
for identification from everyone who interviews you
to ensure it is the police and, not ICE, that is interviewing you.

•• You have the right to request an interpreter. If you
don’t speak English or don’t speak it well, it is very
risky to answer questions that you don’t understand.
Remember that interpreters are not your advocates.
Advise them to interpret EXACTLY what you say. If you
are uncomfortable with your interpreter, wait for your

*ALERT! You should know that if you do not answer
questions during booking related to your place of birth,
the police may not let you get released from jail on bail or
on your own recognizance. You may have to wait in jail
for a judge to make a decision on your criminal custody.

Immigration in Criminal Court
Should I Plead Guilty Or Go To Trial?
After you are charged with a crime, you’re confronted with a
difficult choice: do I plead guilty to a (usually) lesser offense,
or do I go to trial and risk a more serious conviction? There
is a lot of pressure on defendants to plead guilty. This pressure may come from your defense attorney, the prosecutor, the judge, and even your family. But it’s important to
think carefully about your decision because the immigration consequences of your criminal case can be dire. It’s also
important to find out as much information as you can about
your options because judges, prosecutors, and even your
criminal defense lawyer might not know much about or care
about these consequences.

*ALERT! The Supreme Court recently issued a landmark
decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, ruling that criminal
defense lawyers are required to provide information
about immigration consequences to noncitizen
clients. Make sure your criminal defense lawyer gives
you information in writing about the immigration
consequences of your criminal case before you plead

Practical Steps Before Pleading Guilty

•• Tell your defense lawyer that you are not a citizen,
and that you want to know the immigration consequences of the charges, a guilty plea, and possible
trial conviction. Get the defense lawyer’s response in
writing. (See Appendix for sample letters to defense
attorney.) Some public defender offices have immigration experts. Make sure your attorney speaks to them.

•• Seek an opinion from an expert in crime-related
immigration law. You or your criminal defense lawyer
can seek out your own expert or call the Immigrant
Defense Project (IDP) hotline (212-725-6422) or the
National Immigration Project of the NLG (NIPNLG)
(617-227-9727). IDP and NIPNLG do not represent people in court, but they do their best to return your call
quickly and to discuss with you the possible effects of
a conviction on your immigration status.

•• Structure your plea to minimize immigration consequences. Many times, informed and creative pleading
can help turn mandatory deportation into a possibility
of relief from deportation. It can also help preserve a

green card holder’s chance of applying for citizenship.
Sometimes this may require finding a different, nondeportable offense to which to plead guilty. Other
times it may require reducing the length of the proposed sentence.

•• Explore whether your state has dispositions for
young people. Some such dispositions are not
considered “convictions” for immigration purposes
(although some may become a problem for discretionary forms of relief or where “admitting to a crime”
is enough). The federal government and every state
has its own system for treating juveniles in the criminal justice system – some will be safer for immigrant
youth, and some will not.

•• Consider going to trial instead of pleading guilty.
This is not the best option for everyone, but you
may want to consider it if, for example, the evidence
against you is weak and/or the prosecutor will not
agree to any pleas that will prevent immigration consequences that you do not want to accept.

Informant Agreements
While in criminal proceedings, you may find yourself in a
situation where prosecutors are seeking your cooperation.
Sometimes, a prosecutor will offer an immigration benefit in
exchange for this cooperation. For instance, a district attorney prosecuting a noncitizen for drug possession may offer
to help get a green card or “not to deport” the defendant in
exchange for testimony against another defendant. If this
happens to you, should you accept such an offer? Can a
prosecutor even grant immigration benefits?
Are these agreements binding?
This is not clear. First of all, it is unlikely that a city or state
prosecutor can bind the federal government. Additionally,
it is unclear whether one agency (Department of Homeland
Security (DHS)) can be held to promises made by a different agency. Some federal courts have held such agreements
binding, while others have refused to do so.
What can you do to increase the effectiveness of an

•• Work out details of any agreement to cooperate
prior to providing assistance.	

Section 3: ICE Enforcement 63

After cooperating, the government has no incentive to
grant anything at all.

•• Get the agreement in writing.
Verbal agreements, regardless of who made them,
will almost never be enforced. It is very important to
demand a formal, written agreement.

•• Demand that DHS be a party to the agreement.
Some courts will only enforce an agreement conferring immigration benefits where DHS is a signatory.
This will probably be very difficult to get, but you
should demand it anyway.

•• If you can’t get such a formal commitment not to
deport, but decide to cooperate anyway, get a written
recommendation from a prosecutor not to deport.
This might support future immigration applications
where discretionary relief is available.
Other agreements to cooperate with the

A few recently-created special visas grant temporary
immigration status with a possible future opportunity to apply for lawful permanent resident (LPR, or
green card) status in exchange for cooperation. They
all have very specific requirements and require some
formal assistance from the prosecutors.

•• S-Visas—available to some people willing and able to
provide information against certain types of criminal
organizations. The government must apply for you!
Make sure they will fulfill their end of the deal before
you fulfill yours!

•• T-Visas—may be available to certain people deter-

Post-Conviction Relief
Direct Appeal

•• Every state has its own deadlines and procedures for
appealing a criminal conviction.
Why do a Direct Appeal?

•• In most federal circuits, a conviction that is on direct
appeal is no longer a conviction for immigration purposes. So, if the conviction is the only basis for an
immigration detainer/hold or for a charge that you are
deportable, then a pending direct appeal can remove
that basis. This can enable you to be released from custody or have your removal proceedings terminated. If
you lose your appeal and have a final conviction reinstated, the removal proceedings may then be reinitiated, too.
Vacating Conviction
If you are able to get a conviction vacated, then it might
no longer be considered a conviction for immigration

•• Try to get the conviction vacated on the basis of some
procedural or constitutional errors in the underlying
criminal proceeding.

•• A vacatur that states that it is based on rehabilitation
or to avoid immigration consequences will continue to
be considered a conviction for immigration purposes.

•• If you have already been ordered deported based only
on a conviction, then vacating that conviction will not
automatically stop your deportation! You will need to
get your immigration case reopened first.

mined to be victims of trafficking in persons and willing to cooperate with prosecutions against traffickers.

Certificate of Relief from Disabilities and Certificate
of Good Conduct

•• U-Visas—may be available to victims of certain

Many states have versions of these certificates. If you get
a certificate of relief from disabilities, it will generally not
change the fact that you have a conviction. However, this
could help your applications for certain forms of discretionary relief that depend on your equities (for example, cancellation of removal or deferred action).

crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault or
rape (among others) who help prosecute those cases.
If you already cooperated, and fear for your life if deported
(for example, from the individual and/or groups on which
you informed), consider developing a solid argument for
a persecution-based claim under the Convention Against

64 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

Immigration in Jail
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) increasingly has a presence at local jails. Many times they
will try to interview you before they
lodge a detainer (or immigration
“hold”) against you.

Tips during Immigration Interviews
While you are at a local jail, you may be visited by a federal
immigration agent, typically from ICE. The agent may ask
you questions in order to determine whether you might be
deportable. These questions may include your name, country of birth, citizenship, immigration status, age, parents’
citizenship, and prior convictions. This information will be
used to help deport you! If you think you are being questioned by immigration agents or asked immigration information, follow 4 simple rules:
1. Don’t say anything
Do not answer ANY question – not even your name,
country of origin, or immigration status. Immigration
agents may threaten you with jail or deportation if you
do not answer questions. They may tell you that if you
answer, everything will be fine. Do not be fooled. Ask
for the agent’s identification, like a business card or
badge. Be persistent. Record the name and agency of
the person talking to you.
2. Don’t sign anything
If the agent ask for your signature, ask for a copy of the
papers but do NOT sign. Show the papers to an immigration expert or your attorney.
3. Don’t lie
Say nothing or say, “I need to speak with a lawyer first.”
You can be criminally prosecuted for lying (for example,
about your birthplace).
4. Ask to speak with your attorney
Ask your attorney for a letter stating that s/he does not
permit immigration agents to interview you. Give a
copy of this letter to the Immigration agent. If you do
not have an attorney, say that you want to find one first.
If the agent keeps pushing you to answer questions,
just repeat, “I want to talk to an attorney first. I want to
stop this interview now.” Then ask to be sent back to
your cell.

Immigration Detainer
What is an Immigration Detainer?
At any point during your time in jail, ICE may place a
detainer or “immigration hold” on you. The detainer is
the primary tool used by ICE to facilitate transfers of
immigrants from criminal to ICE custody and deportation. A detainer is an ICE request – NOT an order – to
the criminal justice agency (such as a jail or prison) to
notify ICE before releasing someone.
The detainer, which is issued on a Form I-247, means
that when the criminal system no longer has a right to
jail you – for example, because you are granted bail,
are acquitted, or finish your sentence – the local jail or
prison may decide to keep you in custody to give ICE
an opportunity to pick you up. This hold can prevent
you from participating in some programs and getting
some privileges (like work release). It can also result in
high bail or no bail getting set.
Who is at Risk of an Immigration Detainer?
The government may place a detainer on a noncitizen in
government custody who is inadmissible or deportable. This

•• Absconders – people with old orders of deportation/

•• Out-of-status immigrants – this includes people
who came across the border without any papers,
people who overstayed their visas, people who lost
their asylum or adjustment hearings, and even previously undocumented people who are now applying to
adjust their status.

•• Lawful permanent residents (green card holders)
with convictions – even LPRs who have never been
charged with being deportable can get immigration
holds if they have been convicted of a deportable
Note: 	if you are an absconder, a green card holder
with a past deportable offense, or are out-ofstatus, your immigration hold will not be lifted
even if your current criminal case is dismissed.
However, in most cases, if you are in status and
have no final convictions, you should not have
an immigration detainer.

Section 3: ICE Enforcement 65

What are the limits of the detainer?

•• A detainer is alive for only 48 hours after it is triggered
(excluding weekends and holidays). So if you are in
criminal custody after a lawful arrest, the detainer is triggered when the state has no other reason to hold you.
This means the detainer can be triggered when you post
bail or are ordered released on recognizance; when the
charges are dismissed; when you win your case and get
ordered released; or when you complete your sentence.

•• ICE detainers cannot be placed on noncitizens or legal
permanent residents who are not deportable.

•• A detainer does NOT mean that local police or local jails
can hold someone for an undetermined period of time.
What kind of proof does ICE rely on to lodge a

•• Not much. ICE usually uses place of birth information
given by jails or in booking sheets as the basis for lodging
a detainer. As a result, ICE does make mistakes. They mistakenly place detainers on US citizens or legal permanent
residents who are not deportable. Usually, ICE gets information about alienage from interviewing the noncitizen.
What can I do if there’s a detainer against me?

•• To help prevent a detainer from getting lodged, don’t
provide your place of birth information.

•• If the government’s only basis to hold you is the conviction, then you may want to appeal your conviction.

•• After 48 hours, the detainer expires. At that point:
•• You have the right to be released. If you have tried
but not been allowed to pay criminal bail, you can try
again to pay bail. But be aware that if you pay bail and
are later deported, you might forfeit the bail money.

•• You can contact your criminal defense lawyer to let
him/her know that you should be released. Have your
criminal lawyer check to see if you are deportable. If
you are not, your criminal defense lawyer can help you
make sure that ICE lifts the detainer.

66 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

•• You can file a letter with the jail advising them that
they must comply with the 48 hour rule. (A sample of
such a letter is in the appendix).

•• Because you are being held illegally after the 48 hours
expire (8 C.F.R. 287.7), you can file for monetary damages for your illegal imprisonment against the jail.

•• You can file a state or federal writ of habeas corpus
against the facility holding you to get released.

•• Be aware that sometimes, this may just result in
ICE finally coming to take you into custody.

* ALERT! In some cases it is preferable to remain
in criminal custody with an immigration detainer
than to be transferred to immigrant detention
right away. Especially if you may qualify for relief,
being in criminal custody sometimes provides
valuable time to secure representation, collect key
documents, and develop favorable factors before
being transferred to an immigration facility that
may be far away. You should weigh these factors
when deciding to file a state habeas challenging a
hold longer than 48 hours.
If you believe your jail routinely violates the 48 hour rule,
contact the National Immigration Project of the National
Lawyers Guild or the local American Civil Liberties Union in
your area.

Immigration in Prison
Objecting to Video Hearings
You can object to a video hearing. You should object the first
time a video hearing is scheduled and again at the beginning of the actual video hearing. Immigration judges will
probably move forward with the video hearings despite any
objections, but an objection “on the record” ensures that you
might later be able to challenge the fairness of the hearing.
Some issues to cite when objecting to the video hearings
include (but are not limited to):

•• Video conferences serve to further isolate detainees
already held in distant prisons, detached from family,
community, legal, and other support.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) focuses their
effort on trying to deport people who end up in prison.
Generally, people serving more than one year for a crime
are in prison. Currently, ICE screens people in every state
and federal prison through the Criminal Alien Program to
identify immigrants who might be deportable. ICE agents
frequently conduct interviews with immigrants in prison,
often through video teleconferencing. They then initiate
deportation proceedings against these noncitizens while
they are still serving their criminal sentence.

What is the Institutional Removal Program?

•• There are many inherent problems with testimony
given on camera, including: difficulties presenting and
examining evidence, communication difficulties, the
general unfamiliarity of all parties to interacting via
videoconference, and even basic technical problems.

•• Accurate interpretation is difficult enough in person;
interpreting via video-conference creates even more
communication problems.
For more information on IRP and video-hearings, see the
American Immigration Council (formerly AILF) Practice
Advisory, “Objecting to Video Merits Hearings” at:

The Institutional Removal Program (IRP) is a nationwide
Department of Homeland Security initiative forcing incarcerated noncitizens into deportation proceedings from
within the very prisons to which they are confined. People
are forced to defend themselves with little access to legal
information or legal assistance.
IRP proceedings in many prisons take the form of “video
hearings.” Instead of being in a courtroom, you see a video
camera and television monitor from a room within prison.
As a result, you are isolated from all other parties, including the judge, ICE prosecutor, the interpreter, witnesses, and
sometimes even your own lawyer.

Section 3: ICE Enforcement 67

Immigration Impact of Criminal Convictions
How Might a Conviction Affect Immigration?
Potential Effects of Conviction

•• Triggers deportation and possibly permanent exile
from the US

•• Can serve as a bar to US citizenship – either for several
years or permanently

•• Triggers ineligibility to reenter the US after returning
from a trip abroad

•• Triggers ineligibility to obtain a green card
•• Triggers ineligibility for asylum or withholding of

•• Triggers detention – sometimes mandatorily
What Convictions Should I Avoid?
See attached checklist for a partial list of convictions
to avoid.
Deportability Versus Inadmissibility
The effect of a conviction depends on your current immigration status. The same offense may have different immigration consequences for undocumented and lawful permanent residents (LPRs, also known as green card holders).
There are two main categories of removal - deportability
and inadmissibility. Some crimes fit in both categories, while
others make you “inadmissible” but not “deportable” and

•• This applies to noncitizens who have been “admitted”
to the US.

•• LPRs who are in the US should focus primarily on
avoiding deportability.

•• This applies to people who are “seeking admission”
into the US.

•• People who plan to “adjust status” – in other words,
apply for a green card – should focus on avoiding

•• LPRs who are returning to the U.S. from a trip abroad
will be subject to inadmissibility review.

68 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

Assume that any conviction or
disposition may create an immigration
problem. Speak to an expert on crimerelated deportation!
For example, any of the following offenses could lead to

•• Almost any drug conviction – even violations and
misdemeanors. This includes convictions for simple
possession and includes marijuana.

•• Theft offenses – even very minor offenses, like jumping a subway turnstile or shoplifting. The immigration
consequences depend on the offense itself as well as
the sentence and your immigration status.

•• Convictions for domestic violence or violating an
order of protection.

•• Statutory rape convictions and other sex offenses –
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Operation
Predator aggressively targets people with convictions
for sex offenses involving minors.

•• Gun convictions
•• Often, pleas in problem solving courts (like drug
courts and domestic violence courts)
These are only examples – see attached checklist &
consult with an expert in crime-related deportation
for a thorough analysis!

Checklist: Immigration Consequences of Convictions

Immigrant Defense Project
Immigration Consequences of Convictions Summary Checklist*
lawfully admitted noncitizens, such as a lawful
permanent resident (LPR)—greencard holder)

to noncitizens seeking lawful admission,
including LPRs who travel out of US)

Aggravated Felony Conviction
➢ Consequences (in addition to deportability):
◆ Ineligibility for most waivers of removal
◆ Ineligibility for voluntary departure
◆ Permanent inadmissibility after removal
◆ Subjects client to up to 20 years of prison if s/he
illegally reenters the US after removal
➢ Crimes covered (possibly even if not a felony):
◆ Murder
◆ Rape
◆ Sexual Abuse of a Minor
◆ Drug Trafficking (may include, whether felony or
misdemeanor, any sale or intent to sell offense,
second or subsequent possession offense, or
possession of more than 5 grams of crack or any
amount of flunitrazepam)
◆ Firearm Trafficking
◆ Crime of Violence + 1 year sentence**
◆ Theft or Burglary + 1 year sentence**
◆ Fraud or tax evasion + loss to victim(s) > $10,000
◆ Prostitution business offenses
◆ Commercial bribery, counterfeiting, or forgery +
1 year sentence**
◆ Obstruction of justice or perjury + 1 year sentence**
◆ Certain bail-jumping offenses
◆ Various federal offenses and possibly state
analogues (money laundering, various federal
firearms offenses, alien smuggling, failure to register
as sex offender, etc.)
◆ Attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the above
Controlled Substance Conviction
➢ EXCEPT a single offense of simple possession of 30g
or less of marijuana
Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT) Conviction
➢ For crimes included, see Grounds of Inadmissibility
➢ One CIMT committed within 5 years of admission into
the US and for which a sentence of 1 year or longer
may be imposed (e.g., in New York, may be a Class A
➢ Two CIMTs committed at any time “not arising out of
a single scheme”

Conviction or admitted commission of a
Controlled Substance Offense, or DHS
has reason to believe individual is a drug
➢ No 212(h) waiver possibility (except for
a single offense of simple possession of
30g or less of marijuana)
Conviction or admitted commission of a
Crime Involving Moral Turpitude
➢ Crimes in this category cover a broad
range of crimes, including:
◆ Crimes with an intent to steal or
defraud as an element (e.g., theft,
◆ Crimes in which bodily harm is
caused or threatened by an
intentional act, or serious bodily
harm is caused or threatened by a
reckless act (e.g., murder, rape,
some manslaughter/assault crimes)
◆ Most sex offenses
➢ Petty Offense Exception—for one CIMT
if the client has no other CIMT + the
offense is not punishable > 1 year (e.g.,
in New York can’t be a felony) + does
not involve a prison sentence > 6

Firearm or Destructive Device Conviction
Domestic Violence Conviction or other domestic
offenses, including:
➢ Crime of Domestic Violence
➢ Stalking
➢ Child abuse, neglect or abandonment
➢ Violation of order of protection (criminal or civil)

Prostitution and Commercialized Vice
Conviction of 2 or more offenses of any
type + aggregate prison sentence of
5 years

Conviction or admission of
the following crimes bars a
finding of good moral
character for up to 5 years:
➢ Controlled Substance
Offense (unless single
offense of simple possession of 30g or less of
➢ Crime Involving Moral
Turpitude (unless single
CIMT and the offense is
not punishable > 1 year
(e.g., in New York, not a
felony) + does not involve
a prison sentence > 6
➢ 2 or more offenses
of any type + aggregate
prison sentence of 5
➢ 2 gambling offenses
➢ Confinement to a jail
for an aggregate period
of 180 days
Aggravated felony
conviction on or after Nov.
29, 1990 (and murder
conviction at any time)
permanently bars a finding
of moral character and
thus citizenship eligibility

A formal judgment of guilt of the noncitizen entered by a court or, if
adjudication of guilt has been withheld, where:
i(i) a judge or jury has found the noncitizen guilty or the noncitizen
has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or has admitted
sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilt, AND
(ii) the judge has ordered some form of punishment, penalty, or
restraint on the noncitizen’s liberty to be imposed.
➢ A court-ordered drug treatment or domestic violence counseling
alternative to incarceration disposition IS a conviction for
immigration purposes if a guilty plea is taken (even if the guilty plea
is or might later be vacated)
➢ A deferred adjudication disposition without a guilty plea (e.g., NY
ACD) is NOT a conviction
➢ A youthful offender adjudication (e.g., NY YO) is NOT a conviction


➢ Aggravated felony conviction
➢ Offense covered under Ground of Inadmissibility when committed within the first 7 years of residence
after admission in the United States

“Particularly serious crimes” make noncitizens ineligible for asylum and withholding. They include:
➢ Aggravated felonies
◆ All will bar asylum
◆ Aggravated felonies with aggregate 5 year sentence of imprisonment will bar withholding
◆ Aggravated felonies involving unlawful trafficking in controlled substances will presumptively bar withholding
➢ Other serious crimes—no statutory definition (for sample case law determination, see Appendix F)
**For the most up-to-date version of this checklist, please visit us at
See reverse ➤
**The 1-year requirement refers to an actual or suspended prison sentence of 1 year or more. [A New York straight probation or
conditional discharge without a suspended sentence is not considered a part of the prison sentence for immigration
3: ICE Enforcement 69

Immigrant Defense Project
Suggested Approaches for Representing a Noncitizen in a Criminal Case*
Below are suggested approaches for criminal defense lawyers in planning a negotiating strategy to avoid negative immigration consequences for their noncitizen clients. The selected approach may depend very much on the particular immigration status of the particular client. For further information on how to determine your client’s immigration status, refer
to Chapter 2 of our manual, Representing Noncitizen Criminal Defendants in New York (4th ed., 2006).
For ideas on how to accomplish any of the below goals, see Chapter 5 of our manual, which includes specific strategies
relating to charges of the following offenses:
◆ Drug offense (§5.4)
◆ Violent offense, including murder, rape, or other sex offense, assault, criminal mischief or robbery (§5.5)
◆ Property offense, including theft, burglary or fraud offense (§5.6)
◆ Firearm offense (§5.7)
1. If your client is a LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENT:

➢ First and foremost, try to avoid a disposition that triggers
deportability (§3.2.B)
➢ Second, try to avoid a disposition that triggers
inadmissibility if your client was arrested returning from
a trip abroad or if your client may travel abroad in the
future (§§3.2.C and E(1)).
➢ If you cannot avoid deportability or inadmissibility, but
your client has resided in the United States for more
than seven years (or, in some cases, will have seven
years before being placed in removal proceedings), try
at least to avoid conviction of an “aggravated felony.”
This may preserve possible eligibility for either the relief
of cancellation of removal or the so-called 212(h) waiver
of inadmissibility (§§3.2.D(1) and (2)).
➢ If you cannot do that, but your client’s life or freedom
would be threatened if removed, try to avoid conviction
of a “particularly serious crime” in order to preserve
possible eligibility for the relief of withholding of
removal (§3.4.C(2)).
➢ If your client will be able to avoid removal, your client
may also wish that you seek a disposition of the criminal
case that will not bar the finding of good moral
character necessary for citizenship (§3.2.E(2)).

2. If your client is a REFUGEE or PERSON GRANTED ASYLUM:

➢ First and foremost, try to avoid a disposition that triggers
inadmissibility (§§3.3.B and D(1)).
➢ If you cannot do that, but your client has been
physically present in the United States for at least one
year, try at least to avoid a disposition relating to illicit
trafficking in drugs or a violent or dangerous crime in
order to preserve eligibility for a special waiver of
inadmissibility for refugees and asylees (§3.3.D(1)).
➢ If you cannot do that, but your client’s life or freedom
would be threatened if removed, try to avoid a
conviction of a “particularly serious crime” in order to
preserve eligibility for the relief of withholding of
removal (§3.3.D(2)).

* References above are to sections of our manual.

70 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

3. If your client is ANY OTHER NONCITIZEN who might
be eligible now or in the future for LPR status, asylum,
or other relief:

IF your client has some prospect of becoming a lawful
permanent resident based on having a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, parent, or child, or having
an employer sponsor; being in foster care status; or being a
national of a certain designated country:
➢ First and foremost, try to avoid a disposition that triggers
inadmissibility (§3.4.B(1)).
➢ If you cannot do that, but your client may be able to
show extreme hardship to a citizen or lawful resident
spouse, parent, or child, try at least to avoid a controlled
substance disposition to preserve possible eligibility for
the so-called 212(h) waiver of inadmissibility
(§§3.4.B(2),(3) and(4)).
➢ If you cannot avoid inadmissibility but your client
happens to be a national of Cambodia, Estonia,
Hungary, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the former
Soviet Union, or Vietnam and eligible for special relief
for certain such nationals, try to avoid a disposition as
an illicit trafficker in drugs in order to preserve possible
eligibility for a special waiver of inadmissibility for such
individuals (§3.4.B(5)).
IF your client has a fear of persecution in the country of
removal, or is a national of a certain designated country to
which the United States has a temporary policy (TPS) of not
removing individuals based on conditions in that country:
➢ First and foremost, try to avoid any disposition that
might constitute conviction of a “particularly serious
crime” (deemed here to include any aggravated felony),
or a violent or dangerous crime, in order to preserve
eligibility for asylum (§3.4.C(1)).
➢ If you cannot do that, but your client’s life or freedom
would be threatened if removed, try to avoid conviction
of a “particularly serious crime” (deemed here to include
an aggravated felony with a prison sentence of at least
five years), or an aggravated felony involving unlawful
trafficking in a controlled substance (regardless of
sentence), in order to preserve eligibility for the relief of
withholding of removal (§3.4.C(2)).
➢ In addition, if your client is a national of any country for
which the United States has a temporary policy of not
removing individuals based on conditions in that
country, try to avoid a disposition that causes ineligibility
for such temporary protection (TPS) from removal
(§§3.4.C(4) and (5)).

See reverse ➤


Section 4:
to Fight

e all know that
the legal system
doesn’t always
provide us with the remedies
we need. And, as people who are directly affected by the deportation
system, we have firsthand knowledge and experience about how the
system tears apart our families. We can use our experience to find
the best solutions to transform this broken system. By leveraging

Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 71

our collective power to develop strategic campaigns to change the
current laws and hold our elected officials accountable for any newly
proposed legislation, we can ensure that our families stay together
and our communities stay strong!
In this section, we talk about what we can all do individually and collectively to fight back against current
detention and deportation policies. We begin with Families for Freedom’s A.R.M. Case Campaign and Organizing Manual, which lays out specific tools to build the power of individuals and communities to stop deportations and to change the laws. The manual describes key targets and different strategies to fight individual cases.
We then provide information about campaigns across the country to respond to ICE detention and enforcement programs. For example, communities in Texas, Georgia and Arizona are partnering with other members
of the Detention Watch Network on the “Dignity Not Detention” campaign to stop the expansion of detention
nationally. Meanwhile, groups from New Mexico, New York, Washington, D.C., and Florida share the strategies
they’ve employed and their effectiveness in fighting back against ICE collaboration with local law enforcement
in their communities.
Finally we share materials from groups that are working to change the laws through new legislation. Families
for Freedom and other community-based advocates have developed a national organizing campaign around
the Child Citizen Protection Act, a legislative bill that would give discretionary power back to immigration
judges in the event that a parent of US citizen children is facing deportation. The New Agenda for Broad Immigration Reform (NABIR) coalition has developed materials in response to recent Congressional debate around
immigration reform. In addition, Detention Watch Network, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and Rights Working Group have laid out their respective groups’ demands for any future immigration
reforms, including scaling back deportations and the use of detention and limiting ICE enforcement tactics, in
order to ensure due process and human rights for all people.

72 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010


Assist Ourselves
Raise awareness
Make ‘em Bleed!
Prepared by Families for Freedom, Inc.

If you have to leave, don’t leave quietly!
Make THEM lose sleep the same way we do!

A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual
Table of Contents
Introduction: Why use this manual?___________________________ 75
Organizing and Advocacy____________________________________ 76
Key concepts and common challenges to organizing for people facing
deportation (especially with past crimes).

Building Your Campaign_ ____________________________________ 77
How to get other players to support your demands to the Department of
Homeland Security.

Asking for Discretionary Relief_______________________________ 80
How to pressure the Department of Homeland Security to exercise
Prosecutorial Discretion (PD).

Key Tactics:
How to get your targets to give you what you want.
•	 Favorable Factors_________________________________________ 82
	 Prove that you are neither a flight risk nor a threat to society.
•	 Letters of Support _ _______________________________________ 84
	 Get help from family, friends, community leaders, and elected officials.
•	 Congress________________________________________________ 86
	 Make elected officials work for you.
•	 Petitions_ _______________________________________________ 87
	 Educate your community and build support.
•	 Media___________________________________________________ 88
	 Expose how your detention or deportation is UNJUST.
•	 Foreign Consulates________________________________________ 89
	 Push your home country government to protect your family’s rights.
•	 Support from Religious Institutions__________________________ 91
	 Give Witness, Gain Religious Support.

Sample Letters______________________________________________ 92
Use these samples to guide you.

Begin organizing with Families Facing Deportation_ __________ 95
The FFF model: Use your case to involve more families and win local and
national policy changes!

74 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010 A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual

Introduction: Why use this manual?
Raids and arrests are devastating communities. Over 2 million people have been deported in the last decade. Deportation is
a crisis, possibly the biggest one you’ve ever faced. And as soon as you start looking for help, doors close on you. The judges
cannot grant you a pardon. Under the current laws your options are limited. The prosecutors have the final word. And powerful
people act as though they are powerless.

But here’s a secret: YOU can build the power needed to win support for your case!
A.R.M. Case Campaign and Organizing Manual is meant to assist anyone organizing to fight a deportation case and change
the laws. We show you how to push lawmakers, foreign consulates, media, leaders, and neighbors to join your campaign to
keep your family together. Community support is a key factor in pressuring Immigration to treat you and your loved ones with
justice. Countless families and leaders have used this how-to guide to build local and national support on their campaign.
A.R.M. stands for Assist Ourselves, Raise Awareness, Make ’em Bleed. It is the organizing strategy developed by Families for
Freedom to build the power of individuals and communities fighting against raids and deportations. Just like political candidates build a campaign when they want to get elected, you can also build a campaign to help protect yourself. You can speak
out, make headlines, and get community leaders to back you up.
The GOALS of this manual are to teach you:

•• Why it is vital to take action on your own case;
•• Who in government has the power to grant your demands for relief;
•• How to build community support on your individual case; and
•• How to begin organizing more families directly impacted by deportation.
Today, thousands of people around America are standing up against deportations. Regular people are using their stories to
educate others and gain support. We hope this manual helps you to fight smart and win big.

A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 75

Organizing & Advocacy: Everyone must take a stand!
The ultimate goal of your case campaign is to keep your family safe and together. There are several steps to take along the way
to help move you toward this goal. Start with Step 1 below.
At each point in your campaign, the key is to identify what you want (your DEMAND) and the person that has the power to
give it to you (the TARGET).
There are various people that have power in determining the outcome of your case. Several demands and targets are discussed
in the following section about Prosecutorial Discretion.
Once you’ve identified your demands and targets, the next sections in this manual offer different tactics to approach your targets and build support for your family. Make a plan for your case campaign and be sure that the tactics you use for each target
is the best option given the status of your case.


•• Get all of your documents in order
•• Find, read and understand all your immigration and criminal paperwork. You can file a Freedom of Information Act
request to help you gather your documents.

•• Create a list of specific demands
•• It is not enough to say you want to keep your family together. For example, if you want someone released from
detention, say so and tell targets how they can assist in making this happen.

•• Write up your story in your own words
•• This allows you to frame you and your loved one’s story the way you want it told and not the way the media wants
to tell it.

•• Strategize with your family and loved ones about the pros and cons of being involved in a case campaign
(in other words, openly discussing your case with leaders & the media)

•• Know why you are going public and what you want this to accomplish. Not every case campaign requires media
attention. Also, consider starting off targeting local press and leaders that can help you build your case campaign.
This may allow your story to be picked up and supported by national press and leaders.

•• Make sure your legal and advocacy work compliment each other
•• The aims of your legal case should be incorporated into your advocacy work. For example, if you need to get a stay
of deportation, use your advocacy strategy to build community support to win this goal.

76 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010 A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual

These are examples of primary and secondary targets, tactics and demands to help you reach your campaign goal! Keep in
mind, these charts are meant to serve as a guide to help you brainstorm – they are not exhaustive lists.
Primary Targets

Possible Tactics

•• Congressional/

•• Ask them to release

•• Community and

•• Ask for bond or a

consulate support

•• ICE Field Office Directorhead of local ICE office

•• Special Agent in Chargeoversees arrests/

•• Supervisory Deportation
Officer-in charge of

•• Trial Attorney or District
deportation cases

•• Detention and Removal

Operations (DC office)-in
charge of most post deport
order detention cases

Demands for your
individual case

clergy delegations
to deportation

•• Media attention to
your case

•• Phone/fax action

•• Press conferences
after major

•• Demonstrations

outside ICE office
or detention center
(inside detention
center, too)*

you from detention
reduction in bond

•• Ask for a stay of

removal while your
case is pending in
the courts

•• Ask for discretionary
relief from
(See the section
on Prosecutorial
Discretion for more

Demands that can help
you AND other families

•• Ask them to follow

their own regulations.
Cite the regulations
they have violated

•• Ask them to exercise

their full prosecutorial

•• Ask them to NOT
racially profile

•• Ask them to take into
consideration family
concerns before

•• Ask them to

investigate detention
center abuses

•• Office of Refugee

Resettlement (handles
detention for children)

•• Immigration Judge-presides
over deportation cases in
immigration court

•• Pack the court room
with supporters

•• Letter writing
campaign to the

•• Demonstrations
outside court house

•• Exercise discretion
•• Public record in

•• Ensure fair hearing

•• Ask for increased

•• Ask them to take a
stand and support
legislative fixes
that increase their
discretionary power
(e.g., CCPA, HR 182)

*	Detainees who organize hunger strikes, petitions, or other forms of protest inside detention are often subject to solitary confinement, transfers
to other facilities, and other forms of punishment. Many detainees do these things despite the risk. People on the outside can work in solidarity
and assist in ensuring the safety of detainees initiating and engaging in such actions.

A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 77

Secondary Targets

•• Congress members and
state senators

Possible Tactics

•• Congressional visits
•• Call-ins
•• Attend
congressional press

•• Co-sponsor a press
•• City Council members or

local government officials

•• State legislators, state

officials, and state agencies
(for example, child welfare
and domestic violence


•• Ask for public
comment or

•• Letter requesting

•• Congressional

Demands for your
individual case

•• Write a letter of

support (especially
for Prosecutorial
Discretion package)

•• Sponsor a Private Bill

•• Conduct an

investigation on a
facility or jail

•• Attend a press

•• Support a pardon
(state legislature)

memos to other
members of

Demands that can help
you and other families

•• Call for a

hearing, General
Accounting Office
audit, or Office of
Inspector General

•• Introduce a local or

state resolution or
ordinance (especially
against local

•• Issue a statement
denouncing ICE

•• Sponsor legislation
•• Sponsor local
hearings and

•• Draft new legislation
•• Consulates

•• Vigils
•• Individual meetings
with consular

•• Community

•• Get media attention
in ethnic press and
local media outlets

•• Help locate detainee
•• Investigate abuse in

•• Ensure that all

•• Ensure that all

•• Investigate detention

the detention facility
international laws
are upheld by the

•• Ensure people who
want to leave are
allowed a speedy

•• Prevent illegal

and premature

international laws and
norms are followed

•• Help them create

protocols to prevent
illegal deportations

•• Ask them to notify

nationals of rights
once arrested or at

•• Ask them to visit

detention centers

•• Join in class action

78 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010 A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual

Other Important

Possible Tactics

•• Criminal justice

•• Postcard

•• Judge assigned to

•• Letter to the

•• Prosecutor
•• Law enforcement

•• Public meetings
•• Consular

•• Public schools and

•• Group visits and


your criminal case(s)

officials (sheriffs,
police, departments
of corrections)
other public agencies
(child welfare
agencies, school
principals, etc.),
religious institutions,
unions, PTAs, etc.



meetings with
agency officials

•• Letter-writing

Demands for your
individual case

•• Ask for some people

to be charged as
“juvenile delinquents”

•• Reopen, vacate or

•• Take immigration

Demands that can help you AND
other families

•• Ask for policies that take

immigration into consideration when charging, convicting, or sentencing

•• Ask local law enforcement
NOT to work with ICE

into consideration
when charging, convicting, or sentencing

•• Letter of support
•• Assist in creating
support in the

•• Letters documenting
hardship to family

•• Join your local New Sanctuary
Movement chapter (see Section
on NSM)

•• Join and support public actions
and press conferences

•• Draft responses to raids/

•• Support legislation that
TRULY helps people facing

Photo by Mizue Aizeki

A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 79

Asking for Discretionary Relief
Although the laws are very rigid, the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(ICE) has the ability to exercise its discretion at various stages in your campaign and can stop your deportation. The authority
that ICE has to act favorably in a person’s immigration case is called Prosecutorial Discretion (PD). It is a legal way of asking ICE
to not enforce the law against a specific person. PD is often a last resort when all legal options have been exhausted or when
cases are overwhelmingly sympathetic. Receiving PD may mean that you remain on lifelong parole in the United States. Getting PD comes down to pressure and politics. Often the best way to get it is to involve your community and elected officials
in your immigration case.
NOTE: Prosecutorial Discretion is…
NOT given by courts and judges
NOT a way to obtain legal status (instead, you might get lifelong parole)
NOT a solution for everyone	
NOT always more effective with media attention on your case
NOT something you can appeal
Doris Meissner, the former Commission of the INS under President Clinton, wrote a memo on Prosecutorial
Discretion outlining when the agency should use it favorably. Although dated and deeply underused, DHS
maintains it is still valid. Factors taken into consideration include:

•• Your immigration status
•• Length of residence in US
•• Criminal history
•• Humanitarian concerns
•• Immigration history
•• Likelihood of ultimately deporting the immigrant
•• Likelihood of achieving enforcement goal by other means	
•• If the person is (likely to become) eligible for relief
•• Effect of action on future admissibility
•• Current or past cooperation with law enforcement
•• Honorable US military service
•• Community attention
•• Resources available to DHS
•• If interest served by prosecution would not be substantial

80 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010 A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual

When seeking PD, you have to know exactly what and who to ask. Some examples are:
Before Removal



Special Agent-in-Charge
ICE Field Office Director

ICE should not conduct arrests or raids or
should conduct them in line with X principles
and regulations

ICE Field Office Director (head of
local ICE office)

ICE should not transfer detainees across the

ICE Field Office Director

ICE should not issue the NTA

Other DHS officer authorized to issue
a Notice To Appear (NTA)

In Removal

DHS should cancel NTA before it is filed at the
Immigration Court

District Counsel or Trial Attorney

Move to dismiss the NTA

Field Office Director

Ask DHS for release on bond or parole (when
someone is technically not bond eligible)

District Counsel

Ask to support you in the other type of relief
you’re seeking before the immigration judge – for
example, a Joint Motion to Terminate Proceedings
Field Office Director
After Removal
Proceedings (But
Before Removal)

Detention and Removal OperationsDC (if in detention 180 days after
deport order)

Ask for an agency stay of deportation.
Ask for deferred action (even if you have a
removal order, the government can choose not to
deport you)
Ask for a release under an order of supervision

Prosecutorial Discretion Chart made with help of City University of New York Immigrant Rights Clinic. Updated: 3/17/10

A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 81

Favorable Factors
You can’t just say that you or your loved one is a good person. To fight deportation, you have to PROVE IT. The more paper, the
better. For example, don’t just say, “I have 3 US citizen kids.” Copy their birth certificates or naturalization certificates. Below is a
list of factors that judges, Immigration and Congressional offices consider when they see your case. Collect whatever you have.
Keep all your documents in one folder.

❑❑	 Family ties in the United States

Supporting Evidence

•• copies of family members’ naturalization certificates and/or green

•• letters of support from family members

❑❑	 Long-term residence in the United States,

especially if residence began at a young age

•• US school diplomas
•• letters of support from long-term friends in US, former teachers,
neighbors, landlords

❑❑	 Hardship to yourself and/or to family
members if deportation occurs

•• reports from counselors. Whenever possible, actively seek therapy

and get a letter from therapist documenting psychological hardship
on you and family members (especially children)

•• letters from schools of younger children, documenting any change
in behavior since deportation started

•• medical reports showing material dependence of family member
on you (the person being deported)

•• medical reports documenting your own health problems and need
for family support here

•• written proof that elderly parents, young children, pregnant spouse,
etc. will suffer if you are deported

•• written household budget that highlights family’s dependence on

you for payment of rent/mortgage, children’s educational expenses,
child support, medical expenses, utilities, and food

❑❑	 Service in US Armed Forces

•• enlistment and honorable discharge papers (DD 214)
•• certificates for all service given and honors received
•• letters of support from fellow enlistees, officers, and superiors in
Armed Forces

82 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010 A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual


❑❑	 History of employment

Supporting Evidence

•• letters of support from current/former employer(s) discussing your
merits as a worker

•• tax returns, W-2 Forms

❑❑	 Property or business ties

•• deed/mortgage/lease of home
•• letters of support from employees
•• ownership documents of business (especially if business supports
family expenses and/or provides jobs to other people)

❑❑	 Service to community

•• letters of support from religious groups, PTAs, and other local
organizations with which your family is involved

•• awards for or documentation of community service

❑❑	 Genuine rehabilitation

•• proof of programs and work in prison/jail
•• proof of attendance for rehabilitation program or support groups

like Alcoholics Anonymous (including letters from counselors/group
leaders documenting your progress)

•• certificates for (or proof of enrollment in) continuing education (for
example, GED, college courses, business and/or trade skills)

❑❑	 Good character

•• tax returns documenting consistent payment and good tax

•• letters of support from corrections/parole/probation officers,

judges, lawyers, community leaders, local elected officials, clergy

❑❑	 Political support

•• letters of support and phone calls from elected officials (council
members, mayors, members of Congress)

A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 83

Letters of Support
Fill the blanks below with the name of the person being deported. Put your name in the last line, and add a deadline for people
to write and return their letters. Make a list of everyone you know and give the request for a letter of support to each of them.
Follow up with phone calls and reminders. Get a close friend to help you collect letters. All letters of support should be in English or, if in another language, you should get an accurate English translation.


Letters of support needed for __________________________
__________________________ is facing deportation. We, as family members and loved ones, are fighting it. Our success depends on your help! We need you to write a one-page letter of support in your own words. Please neatly
write or type the letter. If possible, put it on *organizational* letterhead. You may begin the letter:
[Today’s Date]

To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing with regards to __________________________. He is currently at risk of being deported
to _______________. His family and community are here, and we need him to stay with us.
Continue the letter including these points:

•• Background:

who are you (profession, place you live, etc), 	
how long you have known __________________________ (use his first name), 	
and what is your relationship (friend, family, attended same church, etc).

•• Community support: describe the good things _________ has done in the community or for you personally. 	

•• Family:

talk about the effects deportation and detention are having on the family. 	
If you know them well, describe them and how they got along with _________. 	
If possible, describe how the family depends on _________ financially and emotionally.

•• Safety: Explain briefly why _________ is not a threat to society.
•• Sign the letter with your full name. Get it notarized whenever possible.
•• Put letter on company letterhead if possible and include your work title.
We need your letters to save our loved one.
Please return your letter of support to ___________________________ by _____________________.

Thank you!

84 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010 A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual

Nearly every case campaign requires the support of elected officials – especially members of Congress.
After you identify your demands and points where members of Congress can help, reach out to your
representative and senators.

Identify your representatives:
Congress has 2 parts: the Senate and the House of Representatives. Members of Congress keep offices in Washington D.C. and
the local district they represent. Find out who are your Senators (2) and Congressperson (1), to target for help.
1.	 Call the Congressional switchboard 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121. Tell them your home address, and they can tell you who
are your 2 Senators and 1 Congressperson.
2.	 Call your elected officials’ offices and get the names of the Immigration Caseworker (local district office) and Immigration
Legislative Aide (DC office).

House of Representatives

Senator 1

Senator 2





















Aide (DC

Set up an appointment.
When you speak with the Immigration Caseworker or Legislative Aide, they will almost always insist that they can’t get
involved in deportation matters. That’s a lie! They can do a lot for your case. But don’t waste time arguing. Avoid discussing
details over the phone. Just demand a meeting in person. A good line to use is, “I am a constituent. I have the right to a
meeting. I don’t feel comfortable talking on the phone.”

Prepare your demands.
You can’t go into the congressional office and say, “Stop my deportation!” Congress cannot tell a judge what to do. But they
can tell Homeland Security to exercise power to not deport you. Before you go to your Congressional office, figure out
what you are asking them to do. Bring the legal papers and favorable factors you have gathered to document your case.

Always ask for responses in writing.
Remember, much of our goal in gathering support is to get decision-makers to take a stand. Always prepare your requests
for a Congressional office in writing and always demand a written response, especially if the office tells you they cannot
help you. This way you can seek out help from other Congressional offices. More importantly, it is more difficult for them to
articulate what they can’t do for you in writing. Congressional offices often do not want to be on record saying they can’t
help you.

A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 85

Create a general petition in support of your detained/deported loved one. Collect signatures on the streets, at school or your
place of worship. The petition will educate others about immigration. Lots of signatures will pressure your congressional office
to get involved. Below is a sample, which has been signed by hundreds of community members.

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with Mr. XXXX, who is facing removal proceedings by the
Department of Homeland Security. Mr. XXXX, a United States resident since 1977, is the father, grandfather, son and brother of several U.S. citizens, an active member of his church, and an important voice
for immigrants in his community. The attempt to deport him has already brought hardship to Mr. XXXX
and his family, and his removal from the country would be an alarming violation of the principles of family unity. In signing this petition, we voice our support for him and his family and ask that he is granted
discretionary relief so that he may remain in the United States with those that love him.
Yours truly,

Printed Name:	



________________________	 _____________________________________	 _____________________________
________________________	 _____________________________________	 _____________________________
________________________	 _____________________________________	 _____________________________
________________________	 _____________________________________	 _____________________________
________________________	 _____________________________________	 _____________________________
________________________	 _____________________________________	 _____________________________
________________________	 _____________________________________	


________________________	 _____________________________________	 _____________________________
________________________	 _____________________________________	 _____________________________
________________________	 _____________________________________	 _____________________________

86 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010 A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual

Deportation tears apart families. It wastes taxpayer dollars. It’s double, even triple jeopardy, as people get deported for settled
matters and then face persecution again back home. Most people don’t know anything about how the system
really works. Media can be a great weapon in your fight against deportation.
But before you try calling newspapers or TV stations, make sure you know: Why am I speaking out? What is my
message? Who should I contact? Below are some points to consider.

Why am i going to the press?
•• To pressure my Congressperson to help me.
•• To educate others at risk about deportation.

•• To educate the general public about deportation.
•• To expose specific people/agencies abusing my loved one.

Other: ________________________________

Get your facts straight.
Sometimes people feel ashamed of the reasons they are being deported. For example, if you have criminal convictions,
you may be tempted to lie about them. But when speaking publicly, you have to be prepared to be honest. If you are
caught lying, it will hurt you more. So get your side down. If you have a lawyer, you may want to ask him/her for help.
Figure out what you do and don’t want to disclose, and the facts you want in focus. Role-play with friends.

Make talking points.
Reporters are busy (or at least they think they are). They want to hear in 30 seconds why they should
cover your story. Before you call, think up a few sentences to explain:

•• News hook: What JUST happened that must be covered. Why is your issue timely? Sometimes an anniversary or recent/upcoming event gets journalists interested.

•• Key facts: What or who is the story about? This should include facts about the person/family in focus, and about the bigger
system that’s the issue.

•• Message: Why does your story matter? This is an opportunity to propose how the journalist should write about the story.
Don’t just repeat the facts – frame them. If you have demands (for example, that your Congressperson speaks out against
your deportation; that Homeland Security gives you prosecutorial discretion; that the jail guards stop beating you), make
them clear. Most journalists know nothing about the deportation system. Help them to focus, focus, focus.

Make a press list.
There are thousands of newspapers and TV and radio stations. You can’t call them all. And bigger is not always better. Tips for
getting strategic and helpful coverage:

•• Decide whose attention you want. For example, if you are trying to influence local leaders and community members, the
hometown paper may be a better choice than the New York Times.

•• Identify any reporters assigned to your specific issue (for example, immigration or prison beat). You can call the media outlet
and ask, “May I have the name of the reporter who covers immigration issues in Brooklyn?”

•• Watch out for journalists who give your issues a bad spin. For example, if reporter Lou Im-Aracist only talks about immigrants
as “diseased aliens,” you don’t want to call him!

You’ve done a lot of work to prepare. You know your facts and your message. Now make the calls! Reporters are so
used to getting calls from boring professionals; they will be thrilled to hear from a real person. Keep an organized
record of who you spoke with and each conversation. Follow up with them when you say you will.

A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 87


Detention & Starting
a Deportation

Immigration Judge (IJ)

Board of Immigration
Appeals (BIA)

Consulate Action:

•• Have a procedure
to investigate
and respond to


Consulate Action:

•• Distribute check-

list of defenses to

•• Inform detained

nationals of their

Consulate Action:

•• Inform nationals

that BIA decisions
must be appealed
to the Circuit Court
of Appeals within
30 days.

•• Ask Immigration

and Customs
Enforcement (ICE)
to refrain from
transferring detainees to distant

•• Intervene

when nationals
suffer abuse in




District Court

If the person has a final administrative
order of deportation, and no federal
court stay, ICE may deport him/her. In
general consulates must issue travel
documents first, however.

Circuit Court
of Appeals

Consulate Action:

Consulate Action:

•• Require US officials to complete a

Verification Checklist before issuing
travel documents covering whether the
national has exhausted legal remedies,
has access to US financial assets, has
been permitted to contact relatives in the
home country, and whether the impact
of deportation on a national’s US citizen
family was considered.

•• Provide family members with the date of
their loved one’s deportation.

88 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010 A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual

•• Make note

of pending
federal court

Supreme Court

Foreign Consulates
There are several ways that your home country can intervene in immigration proceedings. These recommendations can be
used to push foreign consulates to protect the rights of their nationals. Use these recommendations to help hold consulates
accountable for the obligations they have to protecting their nationals’ rights in the deportation process.

Recommendation One: Require Notification of Arrests AS Provided For By the Vienna

➨➨Persuade all law enforcement agencies (including the Department of Corrections) to notify all arrestees of the rights of
foreign nationals to contact their consulates.

➨➨Mandatory notification: consulates should insist that law enforcement agencies
contact them immediately upon discovering that an arrestee is a foreign national.

➨➨Insist that law enforcement notify consulates before sharing information about
detainees with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

➨➨Develop a pocket card informing nationals of their right to contact the consulate
upon arrest and distribute it to nationals.

Most immigration
problems begin when
nationals are given
inadequate advice
about the criminal

Recommendation Two: Take Action Once a National is Arrested

➨➨Inform arrestees that criminal convictions – even pleas to misdemeanors – may have potential immigration consequences
and that they should obtain legal representation.

➨➨Implement a standard written policy that details the actions that a consulate is required to take immediately upon
notification that a national has been arrested. These actions should include:

•• Provide all arrested nationals with a written warning about the potential deportation consequences of a conviction.
Include self-help resources.

•• Communicate with the arrestee or family members to help them obtain information or legal representation.
Recommendation Three: Take Action When a National is Detained by Immigration

➨➨Provide all detained nationals with deportation assistance resources immediately when they are detained. The materials
should also explain the deportation process.

➨➨Prevent ICE from transferring detainees to distant locations where consulates
would be inaccessible.

➨➨Provide an 800 number for detained nationals to contact their consulate.
➨➨Implement a standard written policy that details the actions that a consulate

is required to take immediately upon notification that a national has been
detained by immigration. These actions should include:

•• Always provide family members with information about a detained national’s location and alien registration number (A#). Consulates can locate a
detained national more quickly than his or her family.

Though similar to criminal
arrests, immigration arrests
require heightened vigilance:
procedural protections of
rights are lower and lifelong
exile is a possible outcome.

•• Write letters of support for nationals who would suffer hardship due to illness or other reasons if deported. These letters can help convince government lawyers to exercise prosecutorial
discretion in favor of a national, or convince judges in immigration court to grant discretionary relief.

A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 89


➨➨Interview nationals in-person.
➨➨Verify every national’s identity.
➨➨Check that the national is not being deported prematurely.
➨➨Check that the national has not been subject to abuses or other rights viola-

The US deports people to noncontinuous countries only if a
deportee’s home country issues
travel documents.

tions in detention.

Recommendation Five: Require Travel Documents Before Every Deportation

➨➨Require that a travel document be issued prior to every deportation, even if a national has a passport.
➨➨Before issuing travel documents, make sure all the national’s rights in the deportation process have been exercised
and that the national has exhausted all legal and judicial remedies, including appeals.

Recommendation Six: Make Requirements for Issuing Travel Documents

➨➨Require verification before issuing travel documents.
➨➨Hold travel documents until all legal remedies have been exhausted.
➨➨Ensure that nationals are not deported prematurely and in violation of their rights.
➨➨Provide US officials with a Verification Checklist and require US officials to answer in writing all of the following:
•• Whether the national has exhausted all legal remedies, including all judicial remedies;
•• Whether the impact of deportation on a national’s US citizen family has been taken into consideration;
•• Whether the national has access to his/her financial assets in the US, including accrued retirement savings and
pensions; and

•• Whether the national has been permitted to contact his/her relatives in the home country.

➨➨Provide family members with the date of their loved one’s deportation, even if DHS requests to the contrary.
Families may make arrangements in preparation for deportation, alleviating the burden on home governments.

Recommendation Eight: Intervene Against Abuse of nationals in
Jails and Detention Centers

➨➨Visit detention centers to investigate complaints of abuse.
➨➨Intervene when detention facilities do not accommodate detainees’ religious beliefs,
language needs, and dietary needs.

➨➨Ask US government officials to conduct official investigations into detainee abuse.

Even when official investigations do not produce official findings, the treatment of
detainees in facilities subject to investigation improve dramatically.

90 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010 A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual

People in immigration
detention are often
subject to the same
harsh conditions as
criminal prisoners, but
they may have less
protection from abuse
because people assume
“detention” is not

Support from Religious Institutions
Connect your family’s struggle to your community. If you are affiliated with a religious group, sharing your
story with your religious community can help you. Ask a religious leader to make a statement, write letters,
and lead others in supporting you and your family. Religious leaders are also helpful in a meeting with
members of Congress, Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, and other key targets. You may
be surprised to see how many other members of your community are affected by detention and deportation along with you.

**Join your local New Sanctuary Movement (NSM)**
In the early 1980’s, thousands of Central American refugees poured into the United States, fleeing life-threatening repression
and extensive human rights violations by their governments.
At the time, federal immigration policy would have denied the majority political asylum simply because their governments
were allies of the US Many of these refugees had actively participated in the liberation theology movement and naturally
sought protection from congregations.
Many Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish congregations and temples responded positively -- offering these refugees social services and advocacy support as well as engaging actively in efforts to change federal immigration policy. These congregations,
united under the banner of the Sanctuary Movement, also pledged that they would not reveal the identities of these refugees,
even if they were arrested or jailed for doing so.
The Sanctuary Movement was ultimately successful both in changing national policy and in protecting tens of thousands of
individuals and families, enabling them to start a new life in the US
Now, over 25 years later, religious leaders across a broad spectrum of denominations from 10 states are coming together to
begin a New Sanctuary Movement to accompany and protect immigrant families who are facing the violation of their human
rights in the form of hatred, workplace discrimination, and unjust deportation.
As an act of public witness, the New Sanctuary Movement enables congregations to publicly provide hospitality and protection to a limited number of immigrant families whose legal cases clearly reveal the contradictions and moral injustice of our
current immigration system while working to support legislation that would change their situation.

YOU Can Get Involved
Families for Freedom began collaborating with the New Sanctuary
Coalition of NYC in April 2007, when two of our members
became the first families in New York to seek sanctuary. Since our
partnership began, we have been working closely with religious
leaders and congregants to build and support anti-deportation
Sanctuary is not a community. It is an invaluable, mutual support
network grounded in faith and justice. To get involved, visit http:// or call 646-395-2925 for information.

A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 91

Sample Letters

December 12, 20XX

Elected Official
Re: XXXXX XXX (A# __________)
Dear Senator XXXX:
I am writing from __________ to request your support for our member and your constituent, XXXXX.
She currently faces deportation to Trinidad for a 1990 drug possession conviction. She has legal
resident and citizen family in the United States, including her only grandchild. _______ entered the
country as a legal permanent resident in 198X. She holds fulltime employment as a _________ at
___________. She has strong community ties, is fully rehabilitated, and poses no threat to society.
In 1990 XXXXX was found guilty of a one time nonviolent drug offense upon trial. She was
sentenced to fifteen years to life under the Rockefeller Drug Laws. She was released from Bedford Hill
Correctional Facility in 2001, five years before her minimum sentence, because of good behavior.
XXXXX was placed in deportation proceedings while in Bedford Hill Correctional Facility, after
passage of the 1996 immigration laws. The Immigration Judge ordered her deported in January X,
199X. The Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed her case on April X, 1998. XXXXX filed a habeas
petition to challenge the court’s decision to deny her a hearing for 212(c) – a discretionary form
of relief available to green card holders with pre-1996 convictions. The Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) is granting 212(c) hearings to people who pleaded guilty to crimes before 1996, but
not to those who (like XXXXX) went to trial. She will receive a judgment from the federal court any
day now, and almost certainly lose this appeal.
We are now appealing to the DHS to allow XXXXX to remain here, despite her deportation order.
The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, within DHS, has the power to grant XXXXX
prosecutorial discretion – a non-binding agreement in which the noncitizen lives and works in the U.S.
and reports regularly to the immigration office. It may be revoked whenever the government wishes.
We are submitting a request for prosecutorial discretion to District Director XXXXXX. Congressional
support would greatly strengthen our request.
XXXXX fully understands and accepts that she has made mistakes. But she deserves a second
chance. She is quickly re-establishing herself in New York and becoming a model citizen. XXXXX is
successfully putting her life back together. She does not deserve to see it torn apart now. We ask for
your support so that XXXXX may remain in this country.


92 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010 A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual

Sample Letter—Letterhead
December 20, 20XX
Attn: Immigration Caseworker
Office of Rep. XXXX XXXX
222 Address
Dear Congressman _____________,
We would like thank you for meeting with us on October 23 to discuss the case of our co-founder,
church sister, and family member, XXXXXX. We are writing you now with an urgent plea for help.
This week, XXXXXX had all open criminal charges dropped. However she still has an immigration
detainer because she is out of status and has one past conviction. Our family has retained XXXX, a
criminal attorney, to represent her in immigration proceedings.
According to every immigration expert we have spoken to, because of her controlled substance
offense in 1988, XXXXXX has no options for relief in immigration court. Her only chance for staying
in the country is if the Department of Homeland Security decides to exercise prosecutorial discretion
in the case. As we have been advised, prosecutorial discretion is most effective when exercised before
immigration court proceedings begin. More importantly, prosecutorial discretion is most effective
when there is significant community attention, including from elected officials.
To remind you of the details of the case, XXX and the XXXXXX were married in Trinidad at a very
young age. While XXXXXX was pregnant, her husband abandoned his family and left for the United
States. Heartbroken, XXXXXX came to the United States illegally in 198X to look for her husband.
She became involved with another man in an abusive relationship. The man coerced her into illegal
activity and also had a child with her. She was arrested in 1988 and convicted of attempted criminal
sale of a controlled substance in the third degree. She was sentenced to probation. She was rearrested
in 1989, made bail, and fled her abusive relationship and the authorities.
Her estranged husband, XXX, however, had made a 360 degree conversion to Christ and brought
her and her new son back into the family for all of them to heal together. Eventually, XXX became an
ordained minister and XXXXXX and he established their own church in XXXX. Ten years later, that
church now has over a hundred congregants and is a vital service to the community. Pastor XXX and
his wife have counseled many people in the community about the dangers of drugs and gangs.
XXXXXX has not had an arrest in the past 16 years. XXXXXX has been a blessed part of this
community since she helped found this church 10 years ago. Every person she touches feels her
presence and her positive energy. She is not the same person she was 16 years ago and is not in the
same relationship. She is now in a loving relationship with Pastor XXX, her family of three children,
and her church.
Our church and our community need XXXXXX. We ask that your office write a letter of support
urging Homeland Security to exercise favorable prosecutorial discretion in her case. If she is
deported, it will not only hurt her children and husband, it will hurt the entire congregation and the
community. Please respond to this request in writing. Thank you very much for your time.

The Congregation of Spanish United Pentecostal Church

A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 93

Sample Letter
May 25, 20XX
To: Craig Robinson
Field Office Director, New Orleans ICE
701 Loyola Avenue, Rm. T-8011
New Orleans, LA 70113
To: Nancy Hooks
Field Officer-in-Charge, ICE
1010 East Whatley Road
Oakdale, LA 71463
Dear District Director Robinson and Officer Hooks:
I write to urge your office to grant supervised release and deferred action to XXXX XXXX, a longterm green card holder currently detained at Oakdale Federal Detention Center. Mr. XXXX has been
married to a naturalized U.S. citizen, XXXXX XXXX, for sixteen years. The couple has a beautiful
eight-year-old daughter XXX, born and raised in Brooklyn. He has overwhelming community
support, documented through support letters and petitions. The imminent removal of Mr. XXXX to
Guyana would devastate his family financially, emotionally, and spiritually. Please exercise discretion
to reunite them.
Prior to detention, Mr. XXXX was supporting his family and organizing activities with children at
his wife’s church. Mr. XXXX himself is a devout Rastafari. His religious practice to date has included
being a strict vegetarian, growing his hair, reading the Bible, and smoking marijuana as part of his
sacraments.  This last practice is in violation of our laws, and as a result Mr. XXXX faces imminent
deportation. Since his detention, Mr. XXXX has promised that he will stop all use of marijuana,
because his family is more important to him. He has taken responsibility for his mistakes, and the
effects that his mistakes have caused on his family.
Since Mr. XXXX’s detention, his wife XXXXX has been struggling to maintain a normal, healthy life
for their daughter. But the family is suffering tremendously. As the sole income provider, XXXX is a
chronic diabetic who takes insulin daily.  XXX’s grades are dropping and her teachers see a notable
difference in her ability to concentrate and get along with her peers. XXX has even seen a pro bono
child psychologist, who has insisted that XXXX’s emotional problems will become permanent if she is
not reunited with her father.
XXXXX and XXXX came to our office in Washington D.C. last September, desperate for help. They
have been garnering community support, to demonstrate that Mr. XXXX deserves a second change.
They are now filing for deferred action. In no way is the family trying to excuse his past mistakes.
If granted deferred action, he is committed to observing the terms of his supervised release, and
his family and community supporters are committed to helping him reintegrate into society. Mr.
XXXX fully understands the severe consequences should he violate these terms, and is committed to
meeting the terms set by the Department of Homeland Security.
We urge you to use the discretion you have under the law to return Mr. XXXX to his life as a father
and breadwinner. His release serves the best interests of his family, and society at large. Should you
have any questions, please contact me at _________________.
Yours truly,
Congress member

94 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010 A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual

Begin Organizing with Families Facing Deportation (the FFF model)
Use your case to involve more families and win local and national policy changes!
As detainees, deportees, and families facing deportation, we are NOT just victims. Many of us have been forced to navigate
one of the most complex processes by ourselves. We have often circulated petitions, coordinated detention center visits, and
even organized hunger strikes and sanctuary. But our involvement in advocacy should not end with families either becoming clients or just being mouthpieces at press conferences. Families should be supported when we organize to confront the
problems we face.
Families for Freedom has developed a specific model for organizing families facing deportation in an effort to be an organization by and for families facing deportation. Although there are different ways to help families organizing to fight deportation,
here are some basic tips to get started.

STEP 1: Setting up a meeting
One of the worst parts of the deportation process is the isolation. Many people feel alone and feel like no one else can understand what they are going through. Set up a meeting only for families facing deportation (including former detainees) to
meet each other. With a possible exception of a facilitator or translator, there shouldn’t be any advocates, social workers, or
community activists in the room that aren’t facing deportation. This should be a space where people facing deportation can
openly talk to each other.
What is on the agenda of the first meeting?
Hopefully there will be 2-3 hours available for the meeting. The meeting can have three basic components:
Support (Assist ourselves), Education (Raise awareness), and Action (what we call Make ’em bleed!).

•• Support: This component is basic support group stuff with a twist. People can respond to questions like “How are you
feeling?” and “What are your main struggles right now?” Be prepared, because this part is always hard emotionally. The
important thing is that folks are specific about what they are going through. Finally the question should come up (Make
sure you have a chalk board or a butcher paper to right down one word responses): Who is causing your struggles? (Ask
for one or two word answers.) Save these responses for later.

•• Education: A lot of us facing deportation feel like we don’t know anything, but we actually know quite a bit. For example,
a lot of detainees did their own legal cases. A lot of families created carpools to detention centers. Whenever you ask
people for a solution to any problem (war, pollution, a stupid president), they always answer “education.” But some education is disempowering if it is not based on what
you already know. In order to make the experience
more empowering, start a curriculum-building exercise. Ask everyone a basic question (if the room is
able to write, do a free-write): What do you know
now about the deportation process that you wish
you knew before you were in it? By the end, families
will have come up with a list of tips that can help
other people facing a similar situation. Save these
responses for later.

•• Action: Give yourself at least an hour to identify
actions. Set out a timeline for 3-6 months. Ask the
families in the room to brainstorm: What is one
thing EACH OF US can do TOGETHER in the next 3-6
months to (a) support one another, (b) educate the

Photo by Paromita Shah

A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 95

community, (c) act to change the policies/laws/practices affecting us and (d) be seen as people with expertise and knowledge of the system? Try to get the room to agree on one thing per category. Set a plan of action, and then designate roles.
Make sure that you all think about a 3-6 month timeline for each activity.

•• Set a next meeting: At each meeting evaluate the plan of action you’ve developed and make any necessary revisions.
Continue to incorporate different support, education, and action components into each meeting. Have family members
collaborate to prepare the agenda and co/facilitate different meetings.

•• Identify new people to come: Ask people to identify new people to invite, whether they are people they were detained
with, people they met in the detention visitation line or people at their church/mosque, etc.

STEP 2: Developing Know-Your-Rights curriculum
When working with families facing deportation, everyone wants to educate the community. Many make the mistake of just
relying on legal workers to educate their communities, forfeiting the knowledge they have developed in the deportation
process. Lawyers can be important in the Know-Your-Rights process, but aren’t the only people that can develop community
education projects.
Develop a Know-Your-Rights curriculum starting first with the answers to
the question under “STEP 1: Education” above. Ask legal workers to review
the documents to make sure the curriculum isn’t making legal errors or
unlawfully engaging in the practice of law. From there, the group should
identify people they want to educate. It should include people and
institutions they already know (churches/temples, schools, community
centers, PTA meetings). The families from the meetings should be the
primary ones conducting the trainings in the community.

STEP 3: Identifying actions and campaigns
After a few months people may start getting impatient and want to do
more and learn more. Go back to the first meeting (see STEP 1: Support).
Find the answers to the question, “Who is causing your struggles?” Try
coming to an agreement about a collective target and begin thinking
about a campaign. Strategize about how you plan to move that target
within the year, and what you need to know to move that target. In the
meantime, continue to keep growing the meetings and building membership based upon people’s primary contacts.

96 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010 A.R.M. Case Campaign & Organizing Manual

Photo by Texans United for Families

Dignity, Not Detention: Preserving Human Rights and 
Restoring Justice

The US immigration detention system is in deep crisis. In
recent years it has expanded dramatically and at great cost
to principles of universal human rights and the rule of law.
Since 1994 the number of detention beds has grown from
5,000 to over 33,000 with more than 1.7 million individuals passing through the system since 2003. This dramatic
growth in detention is indicative of the unjust immigration
enforcement system in this country.
Immigrants are detained in a secretive network of over 350
federal, private, state prisons, and local jails, at an annual cost
of $1.7 billion to taxpayers. This crisis is not limited to the
undocumented—long-term green-card holders with minor
offenses, survivors of trafficking and domestic violence, and
those fleeing persecution also are detained and deported by
the thousands. Over eighty percent of detained immigrants
go through the immigration system with no lawyer. Many
are denied their fair day in court owing to mandatory and
arbitrary detention laws and policies that severely limit judicial discretion in immigration cases. While detained, immigrants face horrific human rights abuses, including mistreatment by guards, solitary confinement, the denial of medical
attention and limited or no access to their families, lawyers
and the outside world. In many cases, these conditions have
proven fatal: since 2003, a reported 111 people have died in
immigration custody.
Last year ICE announced plans to reform the immigration
detention system, yet to date, there is little evidence of
change. DHS Secretary Napolitano has publicly reaffirmed
the agency’s intention to expand a punitive enforcement
system which already lacks oversight and accountability.
DWN members are committed to opposing any expansion
of the enforcement regime and shifting the national debate
in support of a system based in civil administrative process
which ensures the due process and human rights of all
This year, Detention Watch Network launched the “Dignity
Not Detention” campaign to stop the expansion of detention nationally. DWN members are supporting organizing
efforts in Arizona, Georgia and Texas to stop local detention
expansion, underscore the impact of national detention pol-

icy on local communities, and highlight the human rights
crisis resulting from detention growth. DWN members are
also engaging in a complementary national advocacy strategy towards four goals:
1.	 Reduce detention spending by the Obama
2.	 Demand the use of secure release options as a
meaningful alternative to detention,
3.	 Restore due process to immigration laws, and
4.	 End expansion of enforcement programs (i.e. ICE
ACCESS) that are contributing to the growth of the
detention system.
As Americans, we have a responsibility to uphold our
core values: dignity, human rights, and due process of
law -- principles that are fundamental to a democracy. All
people, regardless of race or country of origin, deserve fair
and equal treatment by the government. Yet, the government has instead created a climate of fear which has led to
the systematic violation of basic human rights and the denial
of due process.
How You Can Get Involved:

•• Sign-on to the campaign – Go to www.dignitynot and spread the word by informing your
networks and constituents about the campaign.

•• Campaign for reform – Visit your local congressional
representatives and ICE offices, send in complaints to
ICE/DHS, and participate in national action alerts and

•• Join a local campaign – If you live in Arizona, Georgia or
Texas please contact us and we will connect you to the
local campaign in your region.

•• Start a campaign in your community – If your community
is facing detention expansion we would love to support
your work, please contact us.
Dignity Not Detention is a campaign of the Detention
Watch Network. For more information please go to www. or email:
Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 97

How Communities are Fighting Back Against Local
Immigration Enforcement
(Derived from the ICE ACCESS Webinar presented on
3/14/10 by Detention Watch Network, Immigrant Defense
Project, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and Rights
Working Group)

Somos Un Pueblo Unido, Santa Fe, New
Mexico; Criminal Alien Program
Somos Un Pueblo Unido has worked to combat immigration
enforcement in Santa Fe, New Mexico, since 1995. This immigrant-led organization has amassed a membership base of
over 1,600 people throughout the past 15 years. These members began sharing stories of loved ones detained for weeks
and months in local prisons, long after their criminal custody
finished. A pattern of violations emerged, where suspected
noncitizens were staying in jails for extended periods of time,
either because the jails weren’t notifying ICE to pick up these
immigrants or because ICE was neglecting to pick them up.
These community stories of illegal imprisonment sparked
an outcry against local law enforcement’s collaboration with
immigration authorities. Somos then created a movement to
uncover the government policies, publicize these violations,
and hold the local agencies accountable.

•• Local jails no longer provide any detainee information


to ICE.
ICE cannot conduct interviews in the local jails.
ICE is not given information on booking records.
48-hour rule is honored for detainees who have
Local jails will not notify ICE at the expiration of the 48
There’s greater local awareness within government and
communities about the dangers of ICE enforcement
Santa Fe set up a commission to focus on the civil rights
of immigrants which reports directly to the mayor.

Most Effective Strategies:
•• Tracking compelling stories from the community.
•• Holding local officials accountable for their violations.

98 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

•• “Following the money” and establishing that ICE
enforcement programs are expensive for the local
•• Partnering with legal organizations to unearth invaluable information through FOIA requests.
•• Educating local officials and the community about ICE
and local jail violations.

Tips to Pass on:
•• Create an organizational model in the beginning. Without a clear path, one unsympathetic story can destabilize the entire fight and wipe out all the successes.
•• Construct working relationships with local governments but be aware that it may be difficult to sue the
respective agencies later.
•• Educate other community based organizations and create a climate of non-cooperation with ICE.
•• Follow all funding streams to reveal how ICE’s enforcement programs impact local resources.

Contact Information:
Marcela Diaz
Somos Un Pueblo Unido
1804 Espinacitas Street
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
Telephone: (505) 424-7832

DC Jobs with Justice, Washington, DC;
Secure Communities
DC Jobs with Justice primarily focuses on labor rights issues.
However, in the fall of 2009, ICE began to try to institute
Secure Communities in Washington, DC. DC Jobs with Justice became alarmed that this program would sweep up its
members and terrorize the city. To combat Secure Communities, this organization brought many stakeholders to the
table, including civil rights organizations, grassroots organizations, and the city government to provide education
about the destructive impact of this enforcement program.
The organizing model was threefold. First, legal organizations filed FOIA requests and sent memoranda to force the
police to comply with language access laws. Second, DC

Jobs with Justice went to the legislature to force oversight
of Secure Communities and to lobby to prevent ICE collaboration with the police. Finally, all of the participating groups
provided education to the community and city agencies to
debunk the myths put forth by ICE.

•• Lobbied for a bill to prevent the police from sending


detainee information to ICE.
Collaborated with labor, direct legal service, domestic
violence, and community based organizations to have
one voice fighting against ICE enforcement.
Ensured that the DC police would continue to exempt
certain crimes from a fingerprint requirement to avoid
detection by immigration databases.
Organized a five-hour public hearing with the police
Prevented implementation until the City provided a
30-day notice period.
Established a community forum before implementation.

Most Effective Strategies:
•• Educating communities via know-your-right presentations and government agencies via public hearings
with facts from FOIA requests and legal research.
•• Messaging to the police department that Secure Communities will hinder public safety and utilize resources.
•• Using political pressure to fight for accountability for
violations and oversight of Secure Communities.

Tips to Pass on:
•• Start early and before ICE implements an enforcement
program, if possible.
•• Don’t assume that only immigrant organizations are
willing to help. All civil rights organizations will want to
combat ICE enforcement if they understand its practical effects.
•• Be armed with talking points and facts to counter ICE’s
strategies. ICE deceives many agencies and everyone
should be ready to challenge this messaging.

Contact Information:
MacKenzie Baris
DC Jobs with Justice
888 16th St. NW Ste. 520
Washington, DC 20006
Telephone: (202) 974-8224

Florida Immigration Coalition,
Miami, Florida; 287(g) Agreements and
Secure Communities
The Florida Immigration Coalition (FLIC) has been working
to counter ICE’s 287(g) agreements and Secure Communities throughout the state. This organization commenced
its work by focusing on counties which already had 287(g)
agreements. Initially, this was a complicated endeavor
since 287(g) agreements were prevalent in many counties.
Consequently, FLIC targeted localities where communitybased and civil rights organizations already existed in order
to leverage support. These partnerships, along with FOIA
requests and know-your-rights trainings, strengthened
FLIC’s power and extended its reach in combating 287(g)
Miami-Dade County had no 287(g) agreement but a lot of
Secure Communities activities. Due to its success in fighting
287(g) agreements in other counties, FLIC employed similar strategies to fight back against Secure Communities in
Miami-Dade County.

•• Prevented the signing of new 287(g) agreements in at
least two counties.
•• Created a culture of unfavorable publicity in counties
that have 287(g) agreements.
•• Broadened the scope of organizations that are engaging against ICE enforcement programs throughout the

Most Effective Strategies:
•• Assessing the capacity of local organizations and
focusing on counties where a network of organizations
already existed.
•• Assigning tasks to each organization to specialize on –
for example, FOIA requests and legal research to legal
organizations and community outreach to grassroots
•• Disseminating know-your-rights presentations to local
organizations to “train the trainers” and to communities
directly impacted by ICE’s enforcement programs.

Tips to Pass on:

•• Don’t target only one program, like 287(g), because ICE
will continue to terrorize communities with other programs, even if one program is defeated.

Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 99

•• Messaging should target ICE’s destructive interactions

•• Instituted a DOC policy where immigrant detainees

with local law enforcement in general, regardless of the
•• Focus on an organizing plan for counties that have a
network of multi-disciplinary groups, and empower
each organization with a role and objectives.
•• Educate communities in locations and at times when
they feel most comfortable. Many communities are
understandably skeptical so reaching out is not always

must receive a form before ICE interviews them. This
form allows for the person to opt out of an interview.
•• Convinced DOC to require ICE to wear uniforms at
•• Gained access to present know-your-rights workshops
to immigrants in DOC facilities
•• Publicized abuses and created a broad coalition of
groups to combat ICE’s presence at Rikers.

Contact Information:

Most Effective Strategies:
•• Diversifying the groups involved with the coalition to

Subhash Kateel
Florida Immigration Coalition
8325 Northeast 2nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33138-3815
Telephone: (305) 571-7254

thwart ICE’s tactics:
1.	 Clergy set the tone on a moral level in conversations with city personnel.

ICE Out of Rikers Coalition,
New York, New York;
Criminal Alien Program

3.	 Law school clinics contributed legal research to
inform DOC that compliance with ICE’s procedures was not legally necessary.

After learning of countless violations against immigrants
incarcerated at the Rikers Island prison complex, New York
University sued the Department of Correction (DOC) in an
illegal incarceration case. This lawsuit prompted the New
Sanctuary Movement and other partners to work together
and to try to meet and negotiate with DOC. The goal of the
ICE Out of Rikers Coalition that formed was to combat persistent problems with ICE’s strong presence at Rikers. These
problems included gross violations of the 48-hour rule,
reports of ICE officials failing to properly identify themselves,
and claims that ICE officials were engaging in coercive tactics. The Coalition utilized information from FOIA requests
and created alliances with defender services, law school
clinics, clergy, and community-based organizations. Armed
with partnerships, information, legal research, and stories of
people directly impacted, the Coalition has recorded great
success in combating ICE’s presence at Rikers.

•• Convinced city agencies and public officials that collaboration with ICE costs the city valuable financial resources
and doesn’t accomplish what ICE claims it does.

100 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

2.	 Defenders provided access to immigrants at
Rikers. These people were more willing to discuss their experiences because they had legal

•• Providing DOC with a clear outline of why collaboration doesn’t fulfill its policy goals and wastes precious

Tips to Pass on:
•• Construct an organizational model that is broad and
includes all of the actors who are affected by ICE’s
enforcement programs.
•• Frame the problems in the context of a greater civil
rights catastrophe. More groups will participate if they
interpret that ICE is offending their key values.
•• Assemble as many facts as possible from FOIA requests
and community stories to inform local government
agencies of the legal violations.

Contact Information:
Angad Bhalla
New Sanctuary Movement NYC
239 Thompson Street
New York, New York 10012
Telephone: (646) 395-2925

Child Citizen Protection Act (CCPA) Statement of
Principles and Pledge
Families for Freedom Statement of Principles & Pledge
Deportation is the cruelest civil proceeding in the United States of America. The cruelty of this broken system threatens the
health of our communities, and the very soul of our nation.
Principle 1. Massive Deportations Constitute a Human Rights Crisis.
Nearly 1 in 10 American families are of mixed immigration status: at least one parent is a noncitizen,and one child a citizen.
Millions of American children already have lost parents to cruel and unusual deportations. US law dictates that the Americanborn children of immigrants cannot be considered before a mom or dad is exiled for life.
Principle 2. CCPA is Sensible Immigration Legislation We Can All Agree On.
In Spring 2006, amidst historic marches and political battles, a small movement of families who were being torn apart by
these unjust immigration laws moved a member of Congress to introduce the Child Citizen Protection Act (CCPA). This simple
bill does not remove anyone from the deportation rolls. It only creates a safety valve, allowing the judge to consider the best
interests of an American-born child before deporting a parent.
Principle 3. CCPA is Grounded Fundamentally in the Rights of Children and Family Unity.
The most basic right of children is the right to an intact family. International laws recognize this right, as do American citizens.
To date, the CCPA is the only legislative proposal to address the crisis facing American children and immigrant families caught
in the raids sweeping our country.
Principle 4. CCPA Seeks to Challenge the ‘Good’ vs. ‘Bad’ Immigrants Myth.
While the CCPA is not a comprehensive solution, we believe it is a first step in a long march to justice. In principle, the CCPA is
a human rights law. It does not distinguish between Good and Bad immigrants. Rather it restores vision against such blinding
labels as “illegal” and “criminal.” It echoes the same principle articulated centuries ago, in our Constitution: all persons have
a right to due process. That is, a day in court and a hearing before a judge. The bill applies to all subjects of the deportation
law – undocumented and lawful permanent residents, those with and without past criminal records. The central focus is the
American-born children who suffer from the present law’s neglect.
We, the families, organizations and individuals who support this just law, covenant to:

•• Preserve these principles, without compromise, in the process of advocating for the Child Citizen Protection Act.
•• Bear public witness to the value of family unity in the face of the devastation caused by deportations;
•• Defend all children who are the focus of the Child Citizen Protection Act, irrespective of the labels that haunt their parents;

•• Promote legislation and build a movement grounded in human rights to heal the hatred and ignorance that has poisoned
not only the immigration debate, but our society in general.
Original Signatories 	

Date: __________________________

Subsequent Signers 	


Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 101

Child Citizen Protection Act Talking Points
Massive Deportations Constitute a Human
Rights Crisis

•• US citizen children are losing their parents to cruel and
unusual deportations – 100,000 parents have been
deported in the last ten years.

•• US law dictates that the American‐born children of
immigrants facing mandatory deportation cannot be
considered before a mom or dad is exiled for life.

•• After 1996, laws made mandatory deportation applicable to any immigrant deemed to have committed
an “aggravated felony.” The term “aggravated felony”
has been expanded to include offenses that are neither aggravated nor felonies in criminal court – such
as jumping a turnstile, shoplifting, and other misdemeanors. This has made many more parents of American children susceptible to deportation.

We Must Protect the Rights of Children and
Promote Family Unity

•• The most basic right of children is the right to an intact

•• Under the current system, immigration judges have
to break up families because they have no discretion.

•• When a parent is deported, US citizen children have to
choose between their family and their country.

•• The Child Citizen Protection Act would untie the hands
of immigration judges. Immigration judges would
have the power to look at a family’s whole situation,
not just the label of an immigration offense. Currently
judges lack the authority to consider the best interest
of an American‐born child before deporting an immigrant parent.

The Costs of Cruel and Unusual Deportations
are Paid by All

•• Many families have lost their breadwinners and thus
face enormous economic challenges.

•• Some of them have no choice but to turn to assistance

•• Separation from parents
causes emotional trauma
to children. Psychologists
have found the onset of
depression, post‐traumatic stress disorder,
separation anxiety and other mental health challenges
in children whose parents have been deported.

The Child Citizen Protection Act Seeks
to Challenge the “Good” v. “Bad”
Immigrant Myth

•• The central focus of the Child Citizen Protection Act is
the American‐born children.

•• Applying the Constitutional principle that all persons
should have their day in court, the bill applies to all
persons subject to deportation except those labeled
as security threats or engaged in human trafficking.

Would People be Using the CCPA to Gain
Lawful Status (or some other version of
“Anchor Baby” question)?

•• Does not create status for the parent facing deportation or prevent the government from starting an
immigration case against a parent.

•• The 1996 laws created mandatory deportation for
large groups of immigrants.

•• The judges’ hands are tied even if they think a parent
deserves to stay in the US to help raise their families.

•• The CCPA merely creates a safety valve for consideration of the US citizen children who will be impacted
by deportation decisions. It will allow judges to be
judges and make determinations by taking all the relevant circumstances into account.

Doesn’t the CCPA Provide more Discretion
than Existed before the 1996 Reforms?

•• The changes since 1996 have made this bill necessary.

offered by community groups, religious institutions
and the government to survive.

The 1996 laws not only took away judges’ discretion in
many cases, it also expanded the reasons to put immigrants in deportation proceedings in the first place.

•• Extended family members and others who take in

•• At the same time, immigration raids and enforcement

the children of deported families also experience
increased economic hardship.

102 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

practices have become more and more aggressive.

•• The result is that we have a system where over 100,000

•• The Department of Homeland Security recently

parents have been separated from their US citizen children due to deportation over the last ten years.

announced that over 100,000 parents have been separated from their US citizen children due to deportation
in the last ten years.

•• The CCPA makes sure there’s a safety valve for judge to
consider the best interests of US citizen children.

Why Don’t You Just Wait for Comprehensive
Immigration Reform?

•• Our families are in crisis and our children cannot wait
any longer.

•• The CCPA is not in competition with Comprehensive
Immigration Reform. Any immigration reform bill will
have to address family unity and judicial discretion.

•• We are pushing forward because these issues are
important to us as a community.

Photo by Paromita Shah

Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 103

CIR ASAP (HR 4321) Press Release


3 West 29th Street #1030 New York NY 10001 | 646.290.5551 tel, 800.895.4454 fax |

New Yorkers
that Rep.that
(D-IL) immigration
reform bill recognizes
rights of
New Yorkers
Luis Gutierrez's
(D-IL) immigration
reform bill
American kids from immigrant families

recognizes rights of American kids from immigrant families

New York, NY (December 16, 2009)- Representative Gutierrez’s highly anticipated immigration
Reform for America’s
and Prosperity
NY (DecemberImmigration
16, 2009)- Representative
Gutierrez's Security
highly anticipated
made bill,
its debut
marking the
first concrete
step Security
to shift Congress’
in 2010
for America’s
and Prosperity
the beginning
year, Gutierrez
toured the
Act, made reform.
its debutSince
marking theoffirst
step to shift
in 2010listening
toward to
that family
unity must
guiding principle
new reform
the beginning
of thisbe
has touredbehind
the country,
the introduction
of CIR
ASAP, unity
it seems
the country
their voices
groups say
that family
be the
guiding principle
new reform
With the introduction of CIR ASAP, it seems that communities around the country made their voices


It is clear that Gutierrez also looked to other members of Congress in drafting this bill, mainly
those whose commitment to keeping immigrant families with children together is evident in the
It is clear that Gutierrez also looked to other members of Congress in drafting this bill, mainly those
bills they themselves introduced or cosponsored in this session of Congress. In particular for New
whose commitment to keeping immigrant families with children together is evident in the bills they
Yorkers, CIR ASAP includes language similar to Representative José Serrano’s (D-NY) bill the Child
themselves introduced or cosponsored in this session of Congress. In particular for New Yorkers, CIR
Citizen Protection Act (HR 182). HR 182 and the provision in CIR ASAP give immigration judges
ASAP includes language similar to Representative José Serrano's (D-NY) bill the Child Citizen
the authority and discretion to prevent the removal of a parent of a US citizen child if it is not in the
Protection Act (HR 182). HR 182 and the provision in CIR ASAP give immigration judges the
child’s best interest.

authority and discretion to prevent the removal of a parent of a US citizen child if it is not in the child's
immigration system tears US citizen children from their parents, destroying the family.  
best interest.

Many times families are subsequently forced to endure harsh economic and psychological hardship.
the their
cannot continue
to deny
parents, destroying
the family.
CityMany times families are subsequently forced to endure harsh economic and psychological hardship.
of families
by deportation.
“By including
better for their
future, and
the government
cannot continue
to denyathem
to HR
in unity,"
his bill,stated
set the
for the
debate on
the right
to 182
Janis Rosheuvel
of Families
a New
York City-wide
sent the message
to affected
our communities
are aunited
immigrant reform
of families
"By including
HR 182 in his bill, Representative Gutierrez set the tone for the upcoming debate on immigration

reform and sent the message to Congress that our communities are united and strong, and our dream

“I am gratified that my Child Citizen Protection Act was included in the comprehensive immigration
for an end to the injustice within the system will prevail," Rosheuvel continued.
reform package,” said Representative Serrano. “We have a duty to protect our children and families,
and this provision will allow immigration judges to do just that. The hard work of groups like Families
“I am gratified that my Child Citizen Protection Act was included in the comprehensive immigration
for Freedom was crucial to bringing this family unity issue to light, and then raising awareness
reform package,” said Representative Serrano. “We have a duty to protect our children and families,
around the nation and thereby getting the provision in the bill. I look forward to celebrating with
and this provision will allow immigration judges to do just that. The hard work of groups like Families
them when we pass this comprehensive package.”

for Freedom was crucial to bringing this family unity issue to light, and then raising awareness around

also demonstrated
and thereby getting
the and
in the
I look forward
with them when
ASAP yesterday,
signing on as original co-sponsors of the bill. 	
we pass
Rosheuvel concluded, “Families for Freedom applauds Representative Gutierrez for making
families withClarke
in his
bill. Immigrant
in New
New York of
HR 182,communities
also demonstrated
are support
will also
action and due
as more
cosponsors offor
process are necessary to keep families together and to ensure humane and just solutions to America’s
"Families for Freedom applauds Representative Gutierrez for making
###preservation of families with children a priority in his bill. Immigrant communities in New York are

hopeful Senator Schumer will also see that more opportunities for discretionary action and due process
are necessary to keep families together and to ensure humane and just solutions to America's broken

104 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

New Agenda for Broad Immigration Reform 	
(NABIR) Talking Points
The New Agenda for Broad Immigration Reform (NABIR) is a diverse coalition of grassroots, advocacy, and
faith-based organizations uniting behind the principle that all – not just some – immigrants must have the opportunity to live lawfully in
the United States, free from fears and threats of deportation. For more information, visit us at:

Tagline: “Give us a bill we can fight for, not against.”
“We want reform that keeps families together and maintains
the human dignity of all immigrant families.”

MESSAGE: Due process must be central to any
immigration reform. It’s implicated in all areas:

•• In general, overly harsh criminal bars will prevent many
people from ever legalizing and keep them subject to
deportation under unjust laws.
Family unity

•• Current laws and proposed legislation threaten to rip
families apart, often using very minor offenses to permanently deport husbands, wives, children, and siblings without fair hearings.

•• Deportation comes as an unfair and excessive punishment for entire families, leaving them emotionally and
financially devastated.
Workers’ rights

•• Severe criminal bars to legalization will force many
immigrants to continue to reside in the US without
status and thus subject to exploitation by employers.

•• It’s nearly impossible to try to “integrate” into American society if immigrants are forced to live in a climate
of fear due to racial profiling, hyper-enforcement, and
threats of deportation.

ASK: Eliminate mandatory detention.
Talking Point: 	Mandatory detention undermines due
process by locking people up without an opportunity
to show an immigration judge that they are neither a
danger nor flight risk.
Talking Point: 	Detention destroys families and communities
•• Detention transfers continue to tear apart family and
community ties

•• Families incur significant costs, especially when a
breadwinner is detained.
Talking Point: 	Detention is ineffective and expensive.
•• Governments lose out on tax revenue from not letting
immigrants work and spending too much on private
contractors to lock them up instead.

•• Immigration court proceedings are less efficient and
more expensive because many detainees are unrepresented and held far away from advocacy agencies.

•• Better, smarter, and cheaper alternatives to detention
are available and even promoted by Department of
Homeland Security itself.

ASK: Modify the aggravated felony definition.
Talking Point: 	Under the current definition, they have to
be neither aggravated nor felonies.
•• Someone who has an “aggravated felony” faces mandatory detention and virtually mandatory deportation,
which are disproportional double punishments.

•• Despite these harsh consequences, the government
has continued to broaden this category to include
many low-level offenses, including shoplifting with
a one-year sentence and some misdemeanor drug

•• The current definition runs against common sense
and undermines the criminal justice system’s decisions
about appropriate punishments.

ASK: Modify the definition of “conviction.”
Talking Point: 	Immigrants are deported for dispositions
that the criminal justice system never contemplated
would be convictions and that run against commonsense ideas of what a “conviction” should be.
•• This undermines criminal justice goals, especially for
problem-solving courts.

Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 105

ASK: Expand relief for green card
holders / Bring back 212(c).
Talking Point: 	Now, even minor criminal histories prevent
lawful permanent residents from seeking discretionary
Talking Point: 	Immigration judges have been largely
stripped of their power to look at individual factors,
including family, community and military service.
Talking Point: 	Restoring 212(c) would promote fairness by
giving back to green card holders the opportunity to
stay here in the US with their families and communities.

ASK: Provide every immigrant
with a fair hearing and judicial review.
Talking Point: 	Immigrants in immigration court currently
don’t have the right to an attorney provided by the
government if they can’t afford one.


•• 1996 laws (Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
(AEDPA) and Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant
Responsibility Act (IIRIRA)) dramatically increased detention and deportation for all types of immigrants. These
laws included provisions that:

•• Instituted mandatory detention for certain criminal

•• Took away immigration judges’ discretion and reduced
forms of relief in immigration court

•• Expanded criminal grounds of deportation and broadened “aggravated felonies”

•• Changed the definitions of “conviction” and  “sentence”
so that these terms go beyond what the criminal justice system intended

•• Made it harder to come back to the US after deportation
•• Limited how the courts can review immigration judge

Talking Point: 	Federal courts often cannot review immigration decisions.

•• In line with the 1996 laws, immigration enforcement has

Talking Point: 	Immigration judges frequently make
mistakes and government abuses impact innocent
people. Judicial review must be available to remedy
these injustices.

focused on merging the criminal justice and deportation systems through ICE’s Agreements of Cooperation in
Communities to Enhance Safety and Security (ACCESS).
Major ICE ACCESS programs include:

ASK: Pass the Child Citizen Protection Act (CCPA).
Talking Point: 	US citizen children are among those who
get abandoned under these laws.
Talking Point: 	Deportation increases the number of
people who are forced to raise their children as single
Talking Point: 	Judges must have the power to keep US
families intact and make sure citizen children grow up
in the US with their parents.

ASK: Provide a legalization program that
actually places 12 – 18 million
immigrants on a path to citizenship.
Talking Point: 	High fees, waiting periods, and bars to
legalization will prevent many immigrants from
legalizing – including immigrants with a broad range of
minor offenses.
Talking Point: 	The inability to legalize will lead to
continued or higher rates of deportation, continuing to
destroy immigrant families and communities .

106 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

•• Criminal Alien Program (CAP): identifies and initiates
deportation against noncitizens in criminal custody or
transfers people to ICE directly from criminal custody
for removal

•• Secure Communities: identifies noncitizens for deportation through biometrics and records check (in some
ways, a higher-tech version of CAP)

•• 287(g): through task force and jail models, deputizes
local police to carry out immigration enforcement

•• Problems with these programs:
•• Causes criminal justice system to lose its core
promise of providing a fair process

•• Fosters bias against immigrants, creating secondclass citizens

•• Gives a lot of power to local and federal agents
with no oversight mechanism

•• Encourages racial and ethnic profiling
•• Shifts resources away from community policing
•• Undermines public safety

NABIR flyer about Reid-Schumer-Menendez proposal

We all want immigration reform that keeps our families united and respects our rights. No one wants the status
quo. But while the new Senate proposal promises to legalize some immigrants, it overwhelmingly focuses on
expanding the detention and deportation system that’s already terrorizing our communities and destroying our

YOU can transform this proposal into a humane and just law that supports ALL immigrants.

The Reid-Schumer-Menendez Proposal:
•• Forces all immigrants to register and get screened before legalizing

•• Increases and prolongs detention
•• Deports even more people who have ever gotten arrested
•• Further destabilizes our communities by getting police to help deport immigrants
•• Takes away opportunities to have an immigration judge hear your case
•• Continues militarizing our borders
•• Compromises our human dignity and sacrifices our due process rights

REAL Immigration Reform should:

•• Stop local police from deporting immigrants
•• Abolish the immigration detention system and set up alternatives to detention
•• Provide attorneys for people in deportation proceedings if they can’t afford one
•• Let immigration judges hear your entire history when considering deportation
•• Allow for more judicial review of deportation cases
•• Incorporate the Child Citizen Protection Act
•• Provide for fair hearings and restore due process rights

What You Can Do To Help:
1.	 Call Senator Schumer: 202-224-6542; Senator Reid: 202-224-4744; Senator Menendez: 202-224-3542 - Let them
know their proposal isn’t good enough!
2.	 Call President Obama: 202-456-1111 - Tell him that you want REAL reform!
3.	 Join the fight and spread the word for humane and just immigration reform!
The New Agenda for Broad Immigration Reform (NABIR) is a diverse coalition of
grassroots, advocacy, and faith-based organizations uniting behind the principle that
all – not just some – immigrants must have the opportunity to live lawfully in the United
States, free from fears and threats of deportation.
For more information, visit us at:

Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 107

Families for Freedom Press Release Denouncing SB 1070
Contact Janis Rosheuvel, 646-290-5551

Families for Freedom Strongly Denounces SB 1070, Calls for
Immigrant Justice NOW!

New York, NY (April 26, 2010)- The members, staff and board of Families for Freedom--a New York-based
immigrant defense network by and for people facing and fighting back against deportation--join the national
chorus of immigrants and their allies repudiating Arizona’s SB 1070 law.  As people directly impacted by
already unjust, biased and broken immigration laws we strongly condemn Arizona’s racist criminalization of
immigrants and their families.  
This law, signed by Governor Jan Brewer on Friday, April 23, among other things, makes it a state crime to
be undocumented and requires immigrants to have proof of their immigration status. It also requires police
officers to “make a reasonable attempt” to determine the immigration status of a person if there is a “reasonable suspicion” that he or she is undocumented. This unconscionable law harkens back to the darkest days
of Nazi Germany, apartheid-era South Africa and the period of the US Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 when “pass
laws” terrorized whole communities.  Like its historical predecessors, SB 1070 is a clear violation of the most
basic civil and human rights and must be immediately rolled back.    
As people who must daily wrestle with the devastating realities of having our families and communities
divided, we ardently resist the local and national move toward legalized bigotry inherent in SB 1070.  We call
on all immigrants and their allies, especially those in the White House and Congress, to work to repeal this
law and to stop other such proposals.  Further, we insist on an end to the aggressive and brutal enforcement
of immigration laws that set the stage for SB 1070 to be passed.
While we recognize the urgent need for immigration reform, the current framework for “comprehensive immigration reform” will likely only reinforce and exacerbate the trend of increased enforcement and deportation.
We need truly just immigration reform that is grounded in the basic rights of all people and that ensures family unity, equal employment, and due process.  We call for just, inclusive and humane policies and demand:


That President  Obama immediately stop the implementation of—and affirmatively strike down—Arizona’s
immoral and unconstitutional SB 1070;
That local law enforcement focus on protecting our communities, not destroying them;
That President Obama and Immigration and Customs Enforcement {ICE) immediately halt the Criminal
Alien Program, Secure Communities, 287(g), and all other partnerships between ICE and local law enforcement; and
That President Obama issue a moratorium on detention and deportation until Congress can pass truly
meaningful and just immigration reform that puts an end to mandatory deportations.

We are organizing and resisting by calling on all people of conscience to raise their voices by:

1.	 Contacting Arizona Governor Jan Brewer with the following message: “I am deeply disappointed that
you have signed SB 1070. This law promotes discrimination and profiling by legitimizing suspicion based
upon appearance. I ask that this law be rescinded immediately.” (602) 542-4331 or

2.	 Joining a May 1st Rally in your community to show our strength in numbers and to send the message
that we will not be silent.  Find out more:

3.	 Calling President Obama and asking him to speak out against the climate of hate and SB-1070. SB-1070
is misguided and depends on federal immigration policing programs.  Ask President Obama to roll-back
federal immigration enforcement programs that allow local police to collaborate on immigration control.  
The 287(g) and Secure Communities programs are encouraging the kind of hateful activity we are witnessing in Arizona.  202-456-1111
4.	 Knowing-Your-Rights when interacting with local and federal law enforcement.  See Families for Freedom’s website for more details:
108 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010

Restoring Accountability to U.S. Immigration

The time has come to restore American values of fairness
and justice to US immigration enforcement policies
The federal government must safeguard against
racial profiling and human rights violations which
occur under the guise of immigration enforcement.


oversight, supervision, training, and performance
measures, according to government reports.1 These
programs have eroded public trust in law enforcement
and have resulted in racial and ethnic profiling as well
as the unlawful detention of US citizens and permanent

•• Many local police jurisdictions have rejected these pro-

•• The authority to enforce civil immigration law should
return to the purview of trained and experienced
immigration officers.

•• Halt Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and
Customs Enforcement (ICE) programs that rely on state
and local law enforcement or immigration laws given
ICE’s failure to ensure compliance with clear and consistent objectives for its programs and its inability to
implement meaningful oversight mechanisms and adequate supervision of local law enforcement agencies
to safeguard against civil rights violations and the misuse
of government resources.


•• Through agreements between ICE and local law enforcement agencies, DHS has sanctioned immigration enforcement by local and state authorities that lacks necessary

grams because they believe that they work counter to
community policing goals by undermining the trust and
cooperation of immigrant communities, place an undue
burden on the cities’ already reduced resources, and leave
cities vulnerable to civil liability claims.3
The federal government must avoid wasteful
spending by ensuring that detention is used only
when necessary.


•• DHS should use its detention resources in the most cost
effective manner. Detention should be used only as a
measure of last resort and for the shortest amount of
time necessary.

•• Improve and expand Alternatives to Detention (ATD) programs in order to reduce the cost of detention imposed
on taxpayers and to ensure humane and safe treatment
for all individuals. Secure, community-based, cost-saving
programs should be used over custodial programs for
individuals who do not pose a danger to the community.

•• Ensure that mandatory detention categories are not
expanded and the authority of immigration judges is
restored to make individualized determinations regarding a person’s liberty.


•• Taxpayers are paying the price of DHS’ skyrocketing use

Photo by Paromita Shah

of immigration detention. More than 30,000 people are
held in immigration detention on any given day and by
the end of 2009, over 380,000 individuals were detained
by ICE.

Section 4: Organizing to Fight Back 109

•• In FY 2010, Congress appropriated $2.55 billion for ICE’s
detention and removal operations.

•• The current mandatory detention policy overburdens an
already crippled immigration system and causes unnecessary suffering to families and communities.

•• This policy has stripped DHS of its discretion to make
common sense decisions on how best to use its
resources. It has also led immigration officers and judges
to err towards detention.

•• Although the DHS Office of the Inspector General has
recommended that DHS expand ATD programs and Congress has appropriated funds for such programs, ICE has
not implemented any cost-saving community-based ATD
We must be true to American values by requiring
that all individuals in DHS custody are treated
safely and humanely.



•• Expand the availability of judicial discretion, including
humanitarian waivers, so that each person’s immigration
case can be evaluated on its own merits.


•• America’s long standing tradition of promoting justice
and fairness has been undermined by mandatory detention and removal of individuals absent the individualized
determination by a judge regarding a person’s right to
remain in the United States.

1	 Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General: The Performance of 287(g) Agreements, OIG-10-63, (Mar.2010) available at: http://; Immigration Enforcement Better Controls Needed over Program Authorizing State and
Local Enforcement of Federal Immigration Laws, GAO report 09-10, (Jan. 2009)
available at:

•• Require DHS to improve and codify enforceable deten-

2	 See Justice Strategies, Local Democracy on Ice: Why State and Local Gov-

tion standards and create independent oversight of
detention facilities to ensure DHS accountability.

(Feb. 2009). Available at

•• Ensure that ICE fully reviews all facilities for compliance

School of Law, The Policies and Politics of Local Immigration Enforce-

with these detention standards and includes a review of
detainee-filed grievances in its evaluations.

•• DHS should limit the transfer of detained individuals
to facilities located far from their homes and families
without good cause and halt transfers of individuals who
have an existing attorney relationship.

ernments Have No Business in Federal Immigration Law Enforcement
files/JS-Democracy-On-Ice.pdf; see also, ACLU of North Carolina & UNC
ment Laws, 287(g) Program in North Carolina (Feb. 2009); http://acluofnc.
available at:
4	 DHS Office of Inspector General Detention and Removal of Illegal Aliens
Audit Report, OIG-06-33, (Apr. 2006). Available at:


•• Even with the reported deaths of more than 111 detained
immigrants since 2003, detention conditions continue to
decline. Detainees are frequently denied appropriate
medical care, visitation, legal materials, functioning telephones, and access to counsel.5

5	 See, e.g., DHS OIG Treatment of Immigration Detainees Housed at ICE Facilities, OIG-07-01, (Dec. 2006). Available at:
mgmtrpts/OIG_07-01_Dec06.pdf; see also, DHS: Organizational Structure
and Resources for Providing Health Care to Immigration Detainees, GAO
report 09-308R (Feb. 23, 2009) available at

•• The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) found

6	 DHS: Organizational Structure and Resources for Providing Health Care

that ICE lacks a uniform policy for providing medical care
to detainees and a number of facilities have no health
care staff on-site.6

to Immigration Detainees, GAO report 09-308R (Feb. 23, 2009) available at

We must ensure that all individuals receive their
fair day in court.

110 DEPORTATION 101 Revised May 2010



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