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Immigration and Detention

Immigration detention involves depriving a person of the freedom to live or remain in the United States of America for reasons relating to their status as an immigrant in the US. This is different from being incarcerated or deprived of the freedom of movement and other liberties as penalties for a criminal offense. This type of detention often affects immigrants in the US who are either undocumented, entered the US without proper legal basis, or no longer have lawful grounds to remain in the US. 

Texas is one of the states in America with a history of immigration. Immigrants, like citizens, have rights that should be protected, and persons detained or suspected of violating immigration laws may be overwhelmed and confused about their situation, and family members may also be worried about their well-being and location. It is important that both the detained person and their family understand the situation clearly, and contacting an experienced immigration attorney may be a crucial first step to achieving that. 

How Can You Tell if Someone Has Been Detained by ICE?

Interested individuals can find out if someone has been detained by the ICE with the ICE detainee locator website. It may be easier to gain access to the correct information if the individual knows the detainee's country of birth and Alien Number, which can be found on the individual's green card or work permit. If this information is unavailable, then inputting the individual's date of birth, country, and name will suffice.

However, if the individual is a recent detainee or below the age of 18, the website may not provide the person’s details. In this situation, it is best to contact the nearest ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations field office. Texas has five ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations field offices, namely:

Dallas Field Office
8101 N. Stemmons Freeway
Dallas, TX 75247
Phone: (214) 424-7800
Area of Responsibility: North Texas, Oklahoma
Email: Dallas.Outreach@ice.dhs.gov

El Paso Field Office
11541 Montana Avenue
Suite E
El Paso, TX 79936
Phone: (915) 225-1901
Phone: (915) 225-1941
Area of Responsibility: West Texas, New Mexico
Email: ElPaso.Outreach@ice.dhs.gov

Harlingen Field Office
1717 Zoy Street
Harlingen, TX 78552
Phone: (956) 389-7884
Area of Responsibility: South Texas
Email: Harlingen.Outreach@ice.dhs.gov

Houston Field Office
126 Northpoint Drive
Houston, TX 77060
Phone: (281) 774-4816
Area of Responsibility: Southeast Texas
Email: Houston.Outreach@ice.dhs.gov

San Antonio Field Office
1777 NE Loop 410
Floor 15
San Antonio, TX 78217
Phone: (210) 283-4750
Area of Responsibility: Central Texas
Email: SanAntonio.Outreach@ice.dhs.gov

What Happens When an Undocumented Immigrant is Caught?

When an undocumented immigrant is caught by a law enforcement agency, ICE files a detainer that allows the agency to hold the individual for a maximum of 48 hours, after which ICE is mandated to pick up the individual, or the detainee would be legally released from the agency's custody. When picked up by the ICE, a bond is set at 02:00 p.m. of the pickup day. However, the immigrant may not be eligible for a bond if violent and could cause harm or escape. If eligible, the ICE offers two types of bonds – delivery bond and voluntary departure bond.

The delivery bond allows the immigrant to go home, consult with attorneys, and spend time with family on the condition that they show up for their deportation hearings. On the other hand, voluntary departure bonds are granted by an immigration judge to the immigrant on the condition that the immigrant leaves the country voluntarily and at the individual's expense within a stated timeframe. While in custody, the ICE files a case for an immigration court hearing that begins the deportation proceedings.

It is important to note that when an immigrant is caught, this does not mean automatic deportation for the individual, as there will be due process, and the individual has the right to a fair hearing.

How Many Detention Camps are in Texas?

In Texas, there are 26 detention centers, five prisons, and two county jails dedicated to detaining immigrants who are set for immigration proceedings or facing immigration-related crimes. However, the mainstream detention facility for immigrants in Texas is the Central Texas Detention Facility, located at:

218 South Laredo Street,
San Antonio, Texas.
Facility Main Phone: (210) 227-5600
Field Office Main Phone: (210) 283-4750

How Long Can Someone be Detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)?

If an undocumented immigrant was arrested by a Law Enforcement Agency in Texas, the ICE is required to pick the person up immediately or file a detainer, which allows the law enforcement agency to detain the person on behalf of ICE for a maximum of 48 hours. When taken into ICE custody, ICE is required to assign a bond amount to the immigrant by 02:00 p.m. on the day of arrival. 

This bond allows the immigrant to go to their home in Texas while removal proceedings are pending. The bond amounts could vary from $1500 to $25000, depending on the individual and circumstances. However, bonds may be denied at the discretion of the ICE when the individual is a flight risk or perceived as a danger to the immediate community.

What is ICE Deportation?

ICE deportation is the detaining and formal removal of foreign nationals in the United States of America for violating immigration laws. Illegal or undocumented immigrants are usually at high risk of being taken into detention and later deported to their countries of origin. A foreigner can also be deported if:

  • Involved in criminal activities
  • A threat to public safety
  • Overstayed their visa or violated the terms of their stay.

How Long is the Deportation Process in Texas?

When an immigrant is caught in Texas without travel documents or found with forged documents, the individual is deported immediately and without an immigration court hearing under an order of expedited removal. Others caught in different circumstances reserve the right to appear before a judge in a longer deportation process. 

In this case, the foreign national may be held in detention or be granted bail pending the results of the trial. If the judge rules on proceeding with the deportation, the receiving country will have to issue travel documents to the individual before the ICE carries out the removal order. Deportation expenses are usually handled by the government. The entire process could last between a month to 3 years, depending on how fast a deportation hearing is set.

Customs and Border Protection vs. Immigration and Custom Enforcement

Although both are federal immigration agencies responsible for enforcing U.S. Immigration Laws, there are differences between the duties of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

For instance, the CBP is responsible for protecting the border and controlling access into the 325 ports of entry to the country. Significant actions carried by the CBP include border inspections to prevent terrorism and unlawful travel, enforcing laws protecting international trade, and questioning or detaining individuals at the ports of entry. Additionally, the U.S. Border Patrol - under the CBP – patrols the areas around the international borders. 

On the other hand, the ICE focuses on enforcing immigration laws internally within the country and carries out investigations, arrests, detention, and deportation of undocumented immigrants and other illegal aliens. The ICE also enforces laws concerning the unauthorized employment of noncitizens and helps battle smuggling and money laundering activities within the U.S.

What does the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement do?

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is charged with the mission to promote public safety and homeland security by enforcing the federal criminal and civil laws that concern border control, immigration, and customs trade. Through several directorates, divisions, and field offices, the ICE prevents the illegal transportation or movement of funds, goods, and people within, into, or out of the country. For instance, the Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) identifies, arrests,  and removes illegal aliens in the country. 

How Long do Illegal Immigrants Stay in Detention Centers?

Immigrants are generally held at detention centers for about 20 days pending their deportation hearing. However, the ICE could detain an individual for a longer period if the person is a danger to the community or is at risk of fleeing into some other part of the United States of America.

Where are the Checkpoints in Texas?

Immigration checkpoints in Texas are manned by officers who are required to question motorists about their immigration status and conduct a visual inspection of the vehicle. There are currently nine immigration checkpoints in Texas. These are: 

Presidio station
Highways 170 and 67
Post Office Box 929
Presidio, Texas 79845
Phone: (432) 229-3330
Fax: (432) 229-3893

Van Horn station
500 Laurel Street
Post Office Box 368
Van Horn, Texas 79855
Phone: (432) 283-3100
Fax: (432) 283-3196

Big Bend substation
Post Office Box 67
Big Bend National Park, Texas 79834
Phone: (432) 477-2287
Fax: (432) 477-2273

Sanderson station
Highway 90 West
Post Office Box 628
Sanderson, Texas 79848
Phone: (432) 345-2972
Fax: (432) 345-2609

Alpine station
3003 West Highway 90
Alpine, Texas 79830
Phone: (432) 837-6100
Fax: (432) 837-2780

Sierra Blanca station
900 Aztec Drive
Post Office Box 8
Sierra Blanca, Texas 79851
Phone: (915) 369-4000
Fax: (915) 369-4110

Fort Stockton station
1801 Front Street
Post Office Box 607
Fort Stockton, Texas 79735
Phone: (432) 336-2468
Fax: (432) 336-6418

Midland station
2800A LaForce Boulevard
Post Office Box 60405
Midland, Texas 79711
Phone: (432) 561-8911
Fax: (432) 561-9106

Marfa station
717 South Highland
Post Office Box "I"
Marfa, Texas 79843
Phone: (432) 729-5600
Fax: (432) 729-4690

Immigration Camps in Texas

Immigration camps in Texas are temporary homes for migrants seeking asylum or fleeing from violence in their home countries. The most popular immigration camps in Texas are the Refugee Services of Texas camps located in Austin, Fort Worth, and Houston.

What is a Refugee Camp?

Refugee camps are temporary facilities that are built to provide prompt assistance and protection to individuals who were forced to flee from their home countries due to violence, persecution, or war. It is important to note that these camps are not meant as permanent solutions, but as a place where refugees can get their basic needs of food, water, shelter, and clothing met during emergencies or while seeking asylum.