ICE announces launch of Online Detainee Locator System

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thanks to Jenny Lau

On July 23, 2010, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the launch of its Online Detainee Locator System (ODLS), a public, Internet-based tool designed to assist family members, attorneys and other interested parties in locating detained aliens in ICE custody. 

The ODLS is located on ICE's public website and provides users with information on the location of the detention facility where a particular individual is being held, a phone number to the facility and contact information for the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations office in the region where the facility is located.

A brochure explaining how to use the ODLS is also available on the website in the following languages: English, Spanish, French, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic and Somali.

Users will have to have certain relevant information to locate detained aliens, either the detainee's alien registration number, also known as their "A" number, and their country of birth or an individual's first name, last name, country of birth and date of birth. This information must be an an exact match of data in the ICE system. ICE claims that they will properly notify detained aliens that the accuracy of biographical information they provide to the agency will be very important in allowing their family members and counsel to locate them using the ODLS. 

This is an important change over previous ICE practice of holding detainees without notifying family members and without any means of finding detainees. The creation of the ODLS is a concrete step that ICE is taking under the Obama administration to implement reforms of its treatment of immigrant detainees. On the other hand the number of people deported under the Obama adminstration has increased 10% over the last year of the Bush administration and 25% over 2007.

An ODLS brochure is available from ICE.