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supporting a loved one in ice jail

How do I find someone in U.S. Immigration Detention?

  •  ICE Detainee Locator : Use this online search tool to locate people who are currently in ICE custody or who have been released within the last 60 days.

  • Contact ICE’s Public Advocate at the ICE Community Helpline
    at 1-888-351-4024. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, Mon-Fri.

How do I find my loved one’s court date?

  • Immigration Court information:  1-800-898-7180
    The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), has created this Immigration Court toll-free information about immigration cases through an automated system, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Resources for Massachusetts ICE jails (Suffolk, Bristol, Plymouth)

Confirm where your loved one is being detained by checking the ICE Detainee Locator or calling the ICE Field Office Main Telephone Line: (781) 359-7500 ( 8am – 4pm)

SUFFOLK / SOUTH BAY (more information from MA Jobs with Justice)

Suffolk County HOC | 20 Bradston Street, Boston, MA 02118 | (617) 635-1000

How to create a telephone account

  • Calls from folks detained at South Bay are controlled by Securus. Create an account to receive phone calls from your loved one here. (phone calls are $3.100 + $0.100 per min)

How to add money to a commissary account / canteen

  • Send money via mail to your loved one

  • Drop off money order or cash or use your credit card at Suffolk (Money order: Accepted until 9 pm, but no money orders are accepted between 2pm and 4pm, Cash: Accepted up to 10 pm; there is a $1.00 fee for using the cash machine, Credit card: Accepted up to 10 pm; there is a $1.00 fee for using the cash machine (Be careful: you may be charged with a cash advance)

  • OR add online at (need person’s name and inmate ID #)

How to visit your loved one

  1. Your loved one will receive a “visiting” card after a week in detention and can write three names on the card.

  2. Afterwards, you and other visitors can call Suffolk at (617) 635-1000 and make sure they have received the card downstairs.

  3. You should bring your current valid state ID (this must be a Massachusetts ID) with proof of address and Social Security Number and a self-addressed envelope and a photocopy of your ID and you fill out the application form there. You can fill out the form any time after 3 pm, seven days per week.

  4. You wait 7–10 days for approval and you will receive a packet in the mail that has more information. (You can also call the Suffolk office at (617) 635-1000 to see if you have been approved.)

    Tuesday: Call to make visitation appointment for following Friday (8:15pm – 9:15pm) and Sunday (5:15pm – 6:15pm and 6:30pm – 7:30pm). Visitors must arrive 45 minutes before scheduled visitation time. Visits cannot exceed one hour.
    Please note: * Up to 3 people can visit (everyone on the visiting card), and it can be a group visit, but an appointment is needed. * Newborn to twelve year olds are allowed to visit for the Sunday visitation hour at 5:15pm with notarized permission (ask office for the form when you go fill out your application) and with a copy of children’s birth certificate accompanied by one of the three approved visitors

How to write letters

Your name and address on the envelope

Name of your loved one (their A-Number)
Suffolk County HOC
20 Bradston Street Boston, MA, 02118

Letters sent to detainees must include the last four digits of the detainee’s A-number (File Number), plus the sender’s name and address. Detainees may send mail from the facility. Detainees may seal their outgoing letters and place them in the provided receptacle.


Bristol County HOC | 400 Faunce Corner Road, North Dartmouth, MA 02747 | (508) 995-6400

How to create a telephone account

  • Calls from folks detained at Bristol are controlled by Securus. Create an account to receive phone calls from your loved one here. (phone calls are $3.160 + $0.160 per min)


Plymouth County HOC | 26 Long Pond Road, Plymouth, MA 02360 | (508) 830-6200

How to create a telephone account

  • Calls from folks detained at Plymouth are controlled by ConnectNetwork. Create an account to receive phone calls from your loved one here.

  • Your loved one must also put your name and phone number on their personal call list in order to call you. Call (508) 830-6200 and ask to speak to their ICE caseworker if this process doesn’t go smoothly.

How to visit your loved one

More information about setting up visits at Plymouth here.

How to add money to a commissary account / canteen

  • Send money via mail to your loved one, or drop off money order or cash or use your credit card in the lobby at Plymouth

  • OR add online at (need person’s name and inmate ID #)

Finding an Immigration Lawyer

How do I find an immigration attorney?

What support is available for my loved one in detention?

  • If they are detained in the Boston MA area (South Bay/Suffolk, Bristol, Plymouth), be in touch with us at BIJAN. If they are detained elsewhere in the US, see if there is a group that can visit them at

  • You can also mail them resources on how to understand their legal case and advocate for themselves and for bond:

How do I avoid scams?

If your lawyer is NOT listed by the websites above, please take the following precautions:

  • Only go to an attorney or a BIA-accredited representative.

  • An attorney must have a license to practice law — ask to see their law license.

  • A BIA-accredited representative must be accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and work for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which is recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals — ask to see their accreditation documents.

  • Notarios, Notaries or Notary Publics are NOT attorneys or BIA-accredited representatives and they cannot give legal advice.

  • To file a complaint against a Notario in English or Spanish call: 1-877-382-4357

  • Visit the US Citizenship & Immigration website for more information about how to avoid scams and file complaints.

About Immigration Bond

What is bond?

The bond is an amount of money paid to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to guarantee that you will appear in court for all of your hearings and obey the orders of the immigration judge.  If you are in immigration detention, you may ask a judge to order your release if you can get money for a bond.

If you follow all of the judge’s orders, the money will be returned at the end of the court proceedings (regardless of whether you win or lose). However, if you do not appear in court for all of your hearings, the money will not be returned and you may be removed or deported by the immigration judge.

The bond hearing is just to decide whether you can be released if you pay a bond. Sometimes, the bond hearing is held on the same day as the “Master Calendar” hearing.

*You will not be released with a bond if you were detained while entering the United States (you can apply for parole), or if you have been convicted of a serious crime. Most criminal convictions make you ineligible for bond. You will have to remain in detention while you fight your immigration case.

About the Asylum Process

Overview of the Asylum Process

Immigrant Justice (an activist group in Vermont) created this picture to explain the complicated asylum application process. There are time limits for when you apply for asylum; you must apply within 1 year of entering the United States! If it has been longer than 1 year, you should consult a lawyer. 

  1. Apply for Asylum. You must apply for asylum within 1 year of entering the United States! 

    • Fill out Form I-589 (Instructions for filling out Form I-589)

    • You will have a Master Calendar hearing

    • You will have a Merits Hearing. At your merits hearing you will argue your case to the judge as to why you should get asylum and not be deported. The judge will either issue a decision at the hearing or within 6 months. 

    • You can appeal the decision of the immigration court to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Any appeals must be made within 30 days of the judge’s decision.

  2. Apply for other forms of relief. When filling out form I-589, be sure to check the boxes that say you are also applying for Withholding from Removal and Protection Under Convention Against Torture (CAT). While asylum offers the best protection, some people that are not granted asylum may qualify for CAT or Withholding from Removal. 

  3. Apply for permission to work. 150 days after you have applied for asylum you can apply for permission to work. You will need to fill out form I-765 (Instructions for filling out the form)

  4. For help filling out these forms, contact BIJAN, attend a legal clinic, or contact a lawyer.

    • Here is a good starting place to find a legal service in your area.

I have been granted asylum, now what do I do?

  • Visit the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) website for information. People granted asylum are eligible for assistance, including: job placement, English language classes, cash assistance, and medical assistance. You can click on your state on this map to find local resources. A one page outreach flyer for asylees is available on the ORR website in 9 languages.

To find benefits and services in your community, call 1-800-354-0365 . This referral line is a joint project of Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) and Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New York.

Post-Detention Resources

Navigating ICE after Detention

  1. Fill out a submit a “Change of Address Form.” By filling out this form you inform the Immigration Court and the Department of Homeland Security (ICE) where you are living. It is important to fill out this form as soon as possible after you are released. When you fill out the form the immigration court will assign you a date and time for a new hearing. If you don’t submit the form the immigration court assumes you are still detained, which can cause legal problems for you! Legally you are supposed to fill out a new change of address form every time you move to a new house or apartment. 

    • Change of Address Form (English); TRANSLATED VERSION SPANISH

    • Print and fill out three change of address forms

    • Bring two copies to the JFK Federal Building in Boston, 15 New Sudbury St. Drop off one copy at the Dept. of Homeland Security Office of Chief Counsel, room 425 (4th floor). The office is open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 3 pm. Drop off the other copy at the Immigration Court, which is room 320 (3rd floor). The court is open 8am – 4pm Monday to Thursday, and 8am – 3:30pm on Friday. 

  2. Call the EOIR Hotline (800-898-7180) This is an automated line that will tell you when your next court hearing is and other information about your case. To access the information you will need your A number (alien number). Often your next court date will be scheduled for only a month after you are released. The location will probably be the JFK Federal Building in Boston, Massachusetts. 

  3. Change of Venue. If you want, you can request to change the location of your hearing to closer to where you are living. This requires filing a motion with the immigration court where your hearing is scheduled. This usually requires a lawyer. 

  4. Housing. Contact BIJAN if you need a short term place to stay for you and your family while you are in Boston for your hearing. 

  5. Find an attorney or get legal advice about your case. There are several options for getting legal advice. In Boston, you can 

Post-deportation resources

My loved one is being deported soon. Who can help us?

Post Deportation Resources: search by country to find information about preparing for deportation and to find help when you return to your country.