Attorney Information and Resources
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) is committed to increasing and improving the accessibility of legal resources, information, and programs of interest available to legal representatives or family members seeking legal resource information on behalf of detainees. This resource page was developed to promote awareness regarding existing legal access initiatives and programs, as well as provide answers to frequently asked questions regarding legal representation and resources.
Locating an Individual
Information regarding the location of detainees may be accessed using the Online Detainee Locator System (ODLS). The ODLS only has information for detainees who are currently in ICE custody or who were released from ICE custody within the last 60 days. However, ODLS does not provide location information about everyone in ICE custody. Safety, security, and agency discretion prevent some individuals from appearing in the ODLS. For example, juveniles (detainees under the age of 18) do not appear in the system. Also, some individuals may not be entered into the ODLS immediately after they are detained, depending on processing and upload time.
Please note: Use of the ODLS requires the individual’s full name and A-Number or Date of Birth and Country of Origin. If you cannot locate the individual using ODLS, please contact the appropriate ICE field office using the contact information below.
If you have additional questions about the ODLS, informational brochures are available on ICE.gov.
Legal mail includes mail to/from legal representatives, courts, and embassies/consulates. Legal mail must be labeled as “special correspondence” or “legal mail” and the title and office of the sender (or addressee) must be unambiguously written on the envelope. Legal mail is also forwarded to detainees when they are released or transferred. Legal mail is subject to inspection, but cannot be read.
Please note: The mailing address may differ from the physical address of the facility. To obtain the correct mailing address for the facility in which your client is housed or facility-specific mailing instructions, please use the Detention Facility Locator on ICE.gov to locate the facility and look under the “Sending Items to Detainees” tab.
Also, some facilities may have additional protocols for receiving legal mail. Please check with the facility before sending to ensure your correspondence meets the facility requirements.
Legal representatives, legal assistants, and their interpreters may visit clients or prospective clients. Please note that the same rules and requirements for in-person legal visitation also apply to virtual/remote legal visitation.
- Hours: Legal visitation is permitted 7 days a week for a minimum of 8 hours a day on business days and 4 hours a day on weekends and holidays. To obtain the visiting hours for a specific facility use the Detention Facility Locator on ICE.gov to locate the facility and look under the “Hours of Visitation” tab. Facilities may also consider requests for extended visits or visits outside normal hours.
- Identification of Detainee: Although preferred, identification of a detainee by A-number is not required. The facility must make a good-faith effort to identify the specific detainee if provided with other personal identifying information.
- Documentation and Identification:A DHS Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, form is required when providing legal representation to an individual in immigration removal proceedings. A DHS Form G-28 is not required for legal representatives representing detainees on non-immigration legal matters or for pre-representational meetings. In addition to a government-issued photo ID, legal representatives may be required to show a bar card or other documentation reflecting their status as an active legal representative, such as a state bar card, attorney license, paralegal license, or similar legal status. For law students or legal assistants, a letter from the legal representative under whom they are working may also be required.
- Privacy:Visits between a legal representative and an individual detainee are confidential and not subject to auditory supervision. Private consultation rooms may be available for these meetings. For safety and security purposes, detainees are supervised within eyeshot but out of earshot during legal visitation.
- Documents and Materials: Documents and materials provided to a detainee during legal visitation shall be inspected but not read. Detainees may retain these materials for their personal use.
Detainees are unable to receive incoming calls. To leave an urgent message for a detainee, please see instructions on the facility’s page on ICE.gov. In locations where tablets are in use, some detainees may be able to receive a non-confidential text message from legal representatives.
- Requests for Unmonitored Calls: All calls from housing unit phones are subject to monitoring unless otherwise stated. Each facility must have a written procedure for obtaining unmonitored legal calls. Please contact the facility for additional information.
- Cost of Detainee-Initiated Calls: Each facility shall provide detainees with access to reasonably priced telephone services based on federal and state regulations at rates comparable to those charged to the general public. Please contact the facility for additional information on the procedure for adding funds to a detainee’s phone account. Special considerations exist for indigent detainees with regard to phone calls.
- Accommodations for Detainees with Communication Disabilities: Consistent with ICE detention standards, the facility shall engage in an interactive and individualized process that considers whether a detainee with a disability needs any accommodation to access facility telephones or communicate with counsel. Auxiliary aids and services, such TTY devices or Accessible telephones, shall be provided to detainees with communication disabilities on the same terms as provided for detainees without any communication impairment. Consistent with the order and safety of the facility, the facility shall ensure that the privacy of all communications between detainees with communication disabilities and their legal counsel is the same as provided for detainees without communication impairments. The facility shall maintain other auxiliary aids and services, such as video relay service and video phones, to ensure effective communication options for all detainees with communication disabilities.
Exchange of Documents
- In-Person: Documents and materials provided to a detainee during legal visitation are inspected but not read. Detainees may retain these materials for their personal use. The written facility legal visitation procedures describe the exchange of documents between a detainee and legal representative even when contact visitation is not available.
- Legal Mail: See “Legal Mail” section above.
- Electronic Means: Some facilities have implemented procedures to allow electronic exchange of documents between detainees and legal representatives. Please contact the facility or visit the facility page on ICE.gov for additional information.
In an effort to facilitate improved detainee access to legal representatives, ICE has implemented Virtual Attorney Visitation (VAV) in many ICE detention facilities nationwide. Utilizing platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Cisco WebEx, the VAV program allows legal representatives to meet with their clients or prospective clients virtually using video technology in private rooms or booths to ensure confidentiality of communications during remote legal visits. Please note VAV does not substitute for in-person meetings, but it does provide an alternative for attorneys to communicate with clients in a timely and efficient manner. Currently, VAV is available at the following ICE facilities:
- Denver Contract Detention Facility
- Desert View Annex
- Folkston ICE Processing Center (Main and Annex)
- Golden State Annex
- IAH Polk Adult Detention Facility
- Imperial Regional Detention Facility
- LaSalle ICE Processing Center (Jena)
- Otay Mesa Detention Center
- Port Isabel Service Processing Center
- South Texas ICE Processing Center
- Stewart Detention Center
- T. Don Hutto Residential Center
*Additional Information on VAV is available under the “Hours of Visitation” tabs of those facility websites on ICE.gov.
Submission of G-28
G-28s should be submitted to the Field Office or facility where your client is detained or, for non-detained, to the Field Office where the docket is located. For a general list of Field Office Outreach email addresses, visit the ERO Field Office contact page.
Please note: A G-28 is not required for a pre-representational meeting with a prospective client.
E-Service of Documents with OPLA Field Offices
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) eService is the electronic service of documents between the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) field locations and respondents, or their legal representatives, through a dedicated internet-based portal. ICE eService is a voluntary option for those individuals who would like to take advantage of serving documents related to an immigration court matter on an OPLA field location electronically. ICE eService is only for the electronic service of documents to an ICE OPLA field location and does not allow for the electronic filing of documents with the Immigration Court or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).
For technical issues with the E-Service portal, you can email: ICEeService@ice.dhs.gov.
Obtaining Case Status Information
For information on ICE-related case matters (status of parole requests, status of travel documents, the scheduling of a credible fear or reasonable fear screening, etc.), please contact your client’s Deportation Officer. If the identity of the deportation officer is not known, contact the Field Office or facility to obtain that information. Please note that a G-28 must be on file for any information to be disclosed.
Submission of Parole or Bond Request
For information about the method by which parole or bond requests are to be submitted, please contact the relevant Field Office.
Bonds for detainees may be posted at ICE ERO bond acceptance offices nationwide, Monday through Friday (except public holidays) between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., local time. A list of ICE ERO bond acceptance offices nearest you can be found on ICE.gov. Additional information is available on each facility website on ICE.gov.
To determine the status of your bond, please contact your local ERO office. For information regarding how to obtain a refund on a bond that has been cancelled or breached, email the Financial Operations of the Department of Homeland Security Debt Management Center at email@example.com (ensure to include your bond number or A number with your request) or call (802) 288-7600 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST and follow the prompts for bond information to speak with someone.
Tablets are currently available at certain dedicated facilities nationwide. Tablets can be used to exchange non-confidential messages with legal representatives. The tablets can be used to conduct phone or video calls from the housing units. Instructions for how to schedule or pay for video visits can be found here. Note that these calls are monitored and recorded.
Please contact the specific facility to inquire about tablet availability and call monitoring.
Scheduling Calls/Visits With Your Client
Some facilities may have processes in place through which legal representatives may schedule confidential communications via phone calls, video teleconference, or in-person visits with their clients and prospective clients. These calls and meetings are private and not subject to auditory monitoring. Please contact the specific facility for more information.
Individuals in ICE detention centers have access to the law library at their facility for at least 5 hours per week. These libraries contain comprehensive legal materials (see Appendix A of PBNDS 2011 Section 6.3) and are equipped with computers, printers, and photocopiers. The ICE Electronic Law Library (ELL) also includes a number of additional resources specific to immigration matters: Legal Orientation Program (LOP) materials, DHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) complaint information, pro se hand-outs and other topical material, country condition reports, detention standards and policy information, Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) and USCIS forms, legal service provider information from EOIR and Immigration Advocates Network (IAN), and toolkits and resources for parents or legal guardians. Additionally, detainees are provided with external storage devices to enable them to store legal research and documents.
Detainee Telephone System (DTS) Free Call Platform
All detainees have access to a free call platform that includes telephone numbers of legal service providers who are listed on the EOIR List of Pro Bono Legal Service Providers (see below for more information on this list). Free calls are also available to consular officials and various government agencies and non-governmental organizations. Each facility is required to post current free call lists in all housing units.
The DTS Pro Bono Platform Frequently Asked Questions flyer contains important information about the DTS pro bono platform and includes answers to commonly asked questions and issues related to the inclusion on and use of the ICE DTS pro bono platform. The DTS pro bono platform is accessible to entities listed on the Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review List of Pro Bono Legal Service Providers as well as ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations approved organizations. Per the ICE detention standards, all detained noncitizens are provided free, unmonitored, and unrecorded telephone access to specific governmental, non-governmental, and pro bono entities through the DTS pro bono platform.
DOJ EOIR’s Legal Orientation Program
Through EOIR’s LOP, representatives from nonprofit organizations provide comprehensive explanations about immigration court procedures along with other basic legal information to large groups of detainees. The program normally comprises four components:
- Group Orientation: Provides an interactive general overview of immigration removal proceedings, forms of relief, and is open to general questions
- Individual Orientation: Unrepresented individuals can briefly discuss their cases with experienced LOP providers and pose more specific questions
- Pro Se Workshops Those with potential relief or those who wish to voluntarily depart the country, are provided guidance on specific topics (such as how to complete an asylum application or prepare for a bond hearing), and given self-help legal materials
- Referral to Pro Bono Legal Services: Where available
As of early 2020, EOIR also added a LOP Information Line, available to call for free from all detention facilities, where detainees can receive limited LOP services and request LOP resources and other self-help materials.
DOJ EOIR’s National Qualified Representative Program
EOIR’s National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP) is a nationwide program to provide Qualified Representatives (QRs) to certain unrepresented and detained respondents who are found by an Immigration Judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals to be mentally incompetent to represent themselves in immigration proceedings.
American Bar Association Know Your Rights Materials
All detainees have access to American Bar Association (ABA) Know Your Rights (KYR) manuals in all available languages via the ELL. Additionally, many facilities routinely show the ABA KYR video (English, Spanish, and French) or make it available upon request.
ICE Legal Resource Flyer
The following resource flyer compiles information for hotlines, websites, reference materials for legal representation and immigration court information.
Legal and Other Resources Flyer
The following resource flyer compiles information to answer the following questions: Where can I get free legal help? Where can I learn about my legal rights and immigration options? Where can I get general assistance? Where can I get help from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement?
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO)
- ERO Field Offices and Outreach Email Boxes
- ICE Detention Facilities
- ICE Headquarters: Prior to contacting headquarters, you must first try to resolve your request or concern at the Field Office level. If you need further assistance after contacting the field, you may contact ERO at ERO.Info@ice.dhs.gov
- ICE Case Review
Detention Reporting and Information Line
The Detention Reporting and Information Line (DRIL) is a toll-free service that provides a direct channel for external stakeholders to communicate with ERO to answer questions and resolve concerns. Stakeholders may reach the DRIL by dialing 1-888-351-4024. Live operators are available Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST). Language assistance, including Spanish operators, is also available. Detainees are also able to call the DRIL from facility phones using the DTS free call platform.
Legal Access-Related ICE Detention Standards
To see which set of ICE detention standards is applicable to a certain facility, download the Facility List spreadsheet.
For specific standards, please view the linked subsections of the following standards:
- National Detention Standards 2019
- Performance Based National Detention Standards 2011 (revised 2016)
- Performance Based National Detention Standards 2008
Department of Justice Executive Office of Immigration Review
- Immigration Court: For information about a matter before the immigration court, please call 1-800-898-7180. Applications for relief from removal and other forms or documents requested by the immigration judge must be filed directly with the immigration court.
- EOIR’s Automated Case Information Application: Allows users to receive the most recent information about a case after inputting a unique alien registration number. Available information includes next scheduled hearings, decision information at the immigration court and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) levels, and court and BIA contact information. Immigration courts’ operating statuses are also included.
- List of Pro Bono Legal Service Provider: To be included on the List of Pro Bono Legal Service Providers, please see the EOIR website for more information on eligibility and procedure. You may also download the application (Form EOIR-56) from the EOIR website.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
For information on matters before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, Status of a U or T Visa application, etc.), contact the local field office. If there is no response, call the USCIS Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. If problems continue, contact the Ombudsman.
ICE posts relevant case information on their Legal Notices web page.