Immigration Detention Center in Houston TX
Immigration Detention Center in Houston TX is where individuals are held until their case is finished. It is often a terrifying experience for the detainees and their families.
During the most recent 12 months, nationwide 56.3 percent of individuals who left ICE detention did so because they were deported or voluntarily departed. Individuals also leave detention on orders of recognizance or supervision or on parole.
What is Detention?
Detention is a short-term restriction on one’s freedom until they appear in front of an immigration judge. It can be a harsh punishment for violating immigration law.
ICE holds individuals in detention for many reasons. They may have been arrested at the border or while living here illegally. Many people are detained at the Houston contract detention facility after being released from Harris County jail or finishing their prison sentence at Huntsville prison.
Sometimes, individuals leave ICE detention because they have no legitimate grounds to be deported. This is typically what happens when an Immigration Judge orders that the deportation proceedings ICE filed against them “terminated.” Individuals can also be “bonded out” of detention. In this case, they pay a bond amount to be released while they await the outcome of their case in the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).
How is Detention Organized?
Many of the people in Houston Contract Detention Facility have been referred by an immigration judge or were apprehended at the border and are awaiting a decision on their deportation case. Some were transferred from Harris County Jail or prison or from another detention center. Others have posted a bond (called an “A-number”) and have been released while their case is pending.
Detention is often traumatic and people need access to legal support to navigate this process. Unfortunately, many detention centers are in remote locations far from legal organizations and advocates. In addition, a lack of funds means that most families cannot afford a lawyer to visit their loved ones in detention. Alternatives to detention, such as community-based management programs that provide family members with a case manager and legal support, are cheaper and more humane. These programs have a high success rate and cost less than the average price of detention. During the last 12 months, 56.3 percent of individuals leaving detention were either formally deported or “bonded out.” The rest were released from detention under orders of recognizance and orders of supervision or were removed on a deportation order.
Who is Detained?
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has a contract with a private company, Management & Training Corporation, to house individuals it flags for deportation. The Houston facility houses mostly people who are awaiting their day in court.
ICE records indicate that, during the most recent 12 months for which data are available, 87 percent of those who left the Houston Contract Detention Facility did so because they were formally deported or left on the so-called “voluntary departure” process. Other reasons for leaving include being released to ORR, being released from Harris County jail, or finishing a prison sentence.
Visiting times at the Houston contract detention center can be very limited, especially for families who are not US citizens or legal residents. It is important to have an experienced immigration attorney fighting for you if you are on an ICE hold. Those interested in helping support a loved one on an ICE hold can visit the ICE website to send money directly to detainees. Generally, money orders and cashier’s checks are accepted.
What can I do if I am Detained?
ICE can hold people in detention until their immigration case is heard in front of an immigration judge. If a person is not a flight risk and they have family close to them, they can be allowed out on bond. The person putting up the bond (called the obligor) must promise that they will bring their loved one to all their future immigration court hearings.
The ICE Detainee Locator website allows people to search for a loved one in ICE custody. You will need to know the last four digits of their ICE A-number and your relationship to them. A money order or cashier’s check is acceptable for a bond payment.
An experienced Houston immigration attorney can fight to have your loved one released on bond. Luis F. Hess PLLC represents clients in removal proceedings, asylum-only proceedings, bond hearings and appeals before the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Contact him today for a free consultation.