The United States government may deport a non-citizen for violating an immigration law, such as entering the country without travel documents, overstaying a visa or committing certain crimes. Deportation means the formal removal of a foreign national from the country. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the agency responsible for carrying out deportations. While the easiest way to confirm whether a person has been deported is to contact that person and/or his family and friends to find out what happened, that isn’t always possible. In that case, someone who wants more information can take other steps to figure out what happened to the person.
Automated Immigration Court Information
Sometimes, foreign nationals are deported after an immigration court hearing. The Immigration Court of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) hears immigration cases and issues a deportation ruling if it finds there is legal ground for deportation. For foreign nationals who have been summoned to immigration court, an automated phone system provides case status information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
By calling 1-800-898-7180, callers can find out a person’s immigration court case information, including the next hearing date, time and location, case processing information, and immigration judge decision outcome and date. Callers can also find out case appeal information, including the appeal due date and the appeal decision. If the automated phone system states that a judge has decided to proceed with deportation, then the person in question may have subsequently been deported by ICE.
To access the information, the caller must know the person’s alien registration number. The alien registration number begins with the letter A and is followed by an 8- or 9-digit number. It is printed on all Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) correspondence.
ICE Online Detainee Locator System
Prior to trial or deportation, the foreign national may be held in an ICE detention facility. ICE’s Online Detainee Locator System (ODLS) allows people to find out which ICE detention facility is currently holding the foreign national. The information can be searched with the foreign national’s alien registration number and country of birth. A search can also be done with the foreign national’s first and last name and country of birth.
If the foreign national is indeed in custody, ODLS will state that the person is “In Custody” and provide the detention facility’s name, address and visiting information. If the foreign national was held at an ICE detention facility but has been released within the last 60 days, the Online Detainee Locator System will state that the person is “Not in Custody.” In these situations, the person may have been released from ICE custody or has actually left the country, whether voluntarily or by forced deportation.
ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) offices
While the automated immigration court information system and ODLS provide clues as to a foreign national’s whereabouts, neither system reveals if a person was actually removed from the country. You may be able to get more information about a foreign national’s removal status by contacting the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) office responsible for the foreign national’s immigration case. The responsible ERO field office can be found on the foreign national’s ODLS record.
When it’s unclear which ERO field office is responsible for the foreign national’s case, contact the ERO field office responsible for the area where they think the deportation was initiated. For example, if the foreign national lived and worked in Los Angeles, then the Los Angeles Field Office, whose area of responsibility includes Los Angeles County, may have information on that person’s removal status. A listing of ERO field offices, including their address, phone number and email address, can be found on ICE’s website.
- USAGov: Deportation
- U.S. Department of Justice: Customer Service Initiatives
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: Online Detainee Locator System
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: Enforcement and Removal Operatiions Field Offices
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: About the Detainee Locator
- The automated system is not perfect. Users have reported that there can be lag time between when a judge makes a ruling and when the system is updated to reflect the current status. Even though the automated system reports a status as "pending," the person may have already been deported and the court has not yet notified the automated system.
Karen graduated from Southwestern Law School in 2003 with a Juris Doctor degree. She has worked for several law firms, providing legal services in various fields including immigration, housing, bankruptcy and family law.