If a detainee or someone you know has been remanded to an ICE immigration detention facility, this is the information you’ll need to know in order to locate them fast and efficiently. Please note, it is free to find detainees in ICE detention, there is a never a fee. If someone is charging you for that service, it’s most likely a scam or may not be legal.
Finding an immigrant detainee in any ICE detention facility is done one of 2 ways. First, you start your search on the ODLS website and enter in either the detainee’s A-Number and Country of Birth. The second method is searching by their full name and country of birth.
When searching by detainee name, be sure you have spelled the name in it’s entirety, and correctly. The person’s name must be an exact match. A misspelled name will not be found in the ODLS system.
Knowing the immigrant detainee’s information is half the battle. Once you find out which ICE facility the person is located, you then have to make contact at this facility. As well, you also have to hope the person isn’t moved to another facility before you can get to them.
ICE Terms You Need to Know
- IN CUSTODY: In custody means the individual is currently in one of many ICE detention facilities. The ODLS will provide the name of the detention facility where the detainee is located and information about contacting or visiting that facility. The ODLS will also provide the contact information for the DRO office responsible for the detainee’s case.
- NOT IN CUSTODY: Not in custody means the detainee was released custody of ICE within the last 60 days and is not in an ICE detention facility. This could very well mean that the detainee was released from ICE detention entirely, or that the the detainee may no longer be in the continental United States.
- A-NUMBER: The A-Number is the Alien Registration Number which is an eight or nine digit number. This number is located on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) documents.
Who or what is the ODLS?
The ODLS is the Online Detainee Locator System. ODLS doesn’t provide location information about everyone in ICE custody. Safety, security, and agency discretion prevent some individuals from appearing in the ODLS system. For example, juvenile detainees under the age of 18 aren’t in the search system. There are some detainees that may not be immediately entered into the ODLS system right away.
You Found the Detainee, Now What?
- Once you’ve found the detainee, only then should you contact the facility. You also need to use the information provided to confirm that the detainee is still in that location. But, the immigrant listing information in the ODLS system could be up to 8 hours old, therefore be prepared to search more than once.
- If you decide to visit the detainee, contact the detention facility ahead of time to confirm visiting hours and rules. You will also need to bring government issued photo identification if you visit the facility.
NEED TO FIND A DETAINEE: Visit the ODLS website: https://www.ice.gov/locator
Are you interested in how the immigration detainee program works? Do you have more questions about how to find a family member or friend in a detention facility? To sum it all up and give a better understanding, take a moment to view this PDF: ICE Online Brochure