Immigration Detention is the process by which a non-citizen is identified, apprehended and processed into immigration custody through the restriction of their liberty.

Immigration detention in the U.S. stems back to the First World War where Ellis Island was used as an immigration detention center due to the influx of immigrants into the U.S. Notably, the U.S. also used internment camps at the height of the Second World War to detain Japanese- American in less than desirable immigration detention center conditions.

However, the birth of what are immigration detention centers currently began in the 1980’s during the migration of Cubans and Haitians to the U.S. Currently, ICE immigration detention and immigration centers have risen dramatically.

Subject to some discretion, the immigration laws call for mandatory detention of all arriving non-immigrants into the country, consequently leading to higher rates of ICE immigration detention and the proliferation of more detention centers.

Due to the growing violence in Mexico and Central America, immigration into the U.S. is on the rise. As a result, immigration detention centers are used to house the influx of immigrants and process their immigration cases.

What to Expect When Being Detained at an Immigration Detention Center

A non-citizen must know what to expect when subjected to ICE immigration detention within an immigration detention center. What are immigration detention centers like?

First, it is important to know that women and men are housed separately to adapt to the non-citizen’s gender specific needs within the immigration detention center conditions. An immigration detention center is similar to, if not equal to the conditions of a jail or prison.

Detainees are often times separated into violent and non-violent offenders within the immigration detention center for the security and protection of all housed in the facility. The length of detention of each detainee within the facility varies, depending on the fact-specific circumstances surrounding the individuals case.

The immigration detention center conditions are often times reported as sub-par although it fluctuates from facility to facility, however, there have been reported violations of detainee’s rights.

Detainees must report any issues within the immigration detention center including access to medical care, children’s needs, injuries at the detention center, violence and any other relevant concerns.

Immigration detention centers should grant detainees access to counsel and visitation rights for family members, however all facilities have their own rules and regulations, as such, information on the specific immigration detention center must be reviewed on a facility by facility basis.

What to Do if You Are Sent to Immigration Detention

When an individual is in ICE immigration detention the first step is to know your rights. Most of the steps to protect yourself must be taken before arriving at the immigration detention center.

First, while being processed to go into an immigration detention center, you have the right to remain silent and assert your right to counsel. When you are in ICE immigration detention you should seek counsel to analyze your case and determine what your rights are while in ICE immigration detention.

This is particularly important as it will determine if you have the right to a bond with ICE or a bond hearing before the Immigration Judge. To be able to apply for a bond is key to the strategy behind the immigration case as a whole, as it guarantees, if granted, that the individual will not be subject to what are immigration detention center prolonged detention times.

If you do not have the right to a bond, you must complete your case within the immigration detention center before an Immigration Judge under immigration detention center conditions.

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