I Received a G-56 Call-In Letter From ICE – Does It Mean I’ll Get Arrested? (2024)

Are you a foreign-born person who's received a “call-in” letter from the Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO)? Learn about the likelihood that you will be arrested or detained, and what to do next.

If you are currently in removal proceedings before an immigration judge, it might seem jarring to receive a "call-in" letter (technically, a Form G-56 or "G-56") from the Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). That agency is the division of U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE) responsible for detaining and removing people subject to immigration enforcement actions. You might be wondering: What's going on? Will I be arrested? Will I be deported? Should I show up for the appointment at all?

While the possible answers are as varied as the individual circ*mstances of each person who gets a call-in letter, certain basic principles apply. This article will provide an overview of these, focusing in particular on ERO's authority when it comes to arresting or detaining foreign-born people in the United States and the risks you'd face if you didn't comply.

What's the Purpose of a Call-In to an ERO Office?

The G-56 itself typically says that the appointment is about an "official matter," which sounds alarming but could actually mean any number of things.

Sometimes, ERO might not consider the non-citizen to be enough of a flight risk to detain (more on this in the section below), but wants to check in periodically to confirm that their address hasn't changed or that they haven't moved to another state (while in removal proceedings) without having notified either ICE or the immigration court. Other times, ERO might not have received a permanent address for the person in the first place, and would simply like to get one during the call-in interview.

Basically, for every immigration case in removal proceedings (see What is Deportation (Removal)?), some official needs to decide whether it's safe to allow the foreign-born person to live in U.S. society before the immigration judge decides whether the person should be deported; or whether legal or public safety reasons require that the person be held in detention. A decision also needs to be made about the person's likelihood of not appearing for upcoming immigration court hearings, or eventually for deportation, if that becomes necessary.

Sometimes the decision on whether to arrest is made early on in the legal process, such as when a law enforcement officer encounters a foreign-born person suspected of an immigration violation. Other times, the decision is made at a later time, such as after a call-in appointment. If you are in removal proceedings and receive a call-in letter from ERO, you can assume that the decision of whether to detain, grant a bond to, or release you will most likely be made by the local ERO field office.

Can ICE Detain Me for an Immigration Violation?

ERO does indeed have the authority to arrest and detain people for violations of immigration law, such as unlawful entry to the U.S., violating the terms of a visa, and certain kinds of criminal convictions. Thus, any concerns you might have about presenting yourself at an ERO appointment are not without reason.

Nevertheless, arrest isn't the only possibility. ERO could either:

  • release you on your own recognizance (meaning once you sign a form and promise to appear at all immigration court hearings and appointments with ICE, you will be released without having to post a bond)
  • issue you a bond, which is an amount of money you must post prior to release; and which you will forfeit if you fail to show up for later appointments and hearings (but which can be returned to you if you follow through with the whole legal process)
  • release you with an electronic monitoring device (most commonly either an ankle bracelet or a smartphone app), by which they can track your physical location to ensure that you don't leave a prescribed area while your removal case is ongoing, or
  • place you in an immigration detention facility, with no bond and few or possibly no opportunities for release until your immigration court proceedings are done.

In some situations, detention of a foreign national is mandatory. As an example, people with certain types of criminal convictions, such as those relating to illegal drugs or violent crimes, are not eligible for release on bond at all during immigration proceedings. (See Section 236(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.) 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c).) They will have to remain in detention during the whole of their immigration court proceedings, which can last many months.

In other situations, detention is not legally mandatory, but ERO will nevertheless decide to detain without the possibility of a bond if it believes the person could be a danger to the community or a "flight risk." The latter might apply if, for example, there is evidence that the person failed to appear for a court hearing in the past or doesn't have a permanent address.

What Will Happen at My ERO Call-In Appointment?

The G-56 will tell you exactly where you should go and your appointment time. During the appointment, a duty officer might ask you questions about where you live, your ties to the community, your employment if any, and any prior contacts with law enforcement. ERO might take your fingerprints and run these against FBI and other records to find out about any prior contacts you've had with law enforcement.

The decision to detain or release you will be made based on your answers to ERO's questions along with information ERO discovers or has in its file on you.

Would It Be Safer to Just Skip My ERO Call-In Appointment?

Failing to appear at your ERO call-in appointment could, in the long run, lead to worse consequences than simply showing up. While the possibility of ERO arresting and detaining you is alarming, it's the least likely thing to happen. If you've had no prior contacts with law enforcement, appear credible (believable), and can demonstrate significant ties to the community in the United States and/or a promising chance of the judge granting you lawful immigration status here, the likelihood of being detained with no bond is quite slim.

Also, as discussed next, if ERO makes a custody decision that you would like to challenge, you can likely ask an immigration judge to review it.

What If I'm Not Happy With ERO's Custody Decision?

If you are not happy with the decision that ERO makes about your custody status, you will probably have the opportunity to ask an immigration judge to review it at what's known as a bond hearing. There, for example, you could ask for a lower bond amount, to be released from detention, or (depending on the federal court circuit within which you live, since different ones have made different rulings on this), ask to have your ankle bracelet removed.

As for whether you have the right to ask an immigration judge to review ERO's decision, you'll find this information in the paperwork ERO gives you. If you are already detained by this time, and are eligible for and want a bond hearing, the immigration judge will schedule one for you as soon as possible. Usually bond hearings are held before hearings on the substance ("merits") of a case.

But sometimes ERO detains people after their immigration merits hearings (which often last for more than one session) have already begun. In many cases, these people were arrested by local authorities for a crime or traffic violation after their master calendaring hearing or merits hearing had begun, and so the authorities subsequently turned them over to ICE. In any case, it is still possible to request a bond hearing after having started the merits hearing for your immigration case.

At the bond hearing, you will need to present evidence that you are not a danger to the community and that you are not likely to flee in order to avoid appearing in court again. You may testify, bring in witnesses to speak on your behalf, and submit supporting documents. These might include, for example, statements from people who know about your good character, marriage or birth certificates showing your relationship to people with lawful immigration status in the United States, and proof of employment (if you are authorized to work in the United States).

At the end of the bond hearing, the immigration judge will decide to either agree with ERO's custody decision or vacate ERO's decision and issue a new one. If you are not happy with the immigration judge's decision, you may appeal it to the Board of Immigration Appeals. (Do your best to get a lawyer's help with this appeal, since it's normally done in writing, not in person, and involves a good deal of legal research and knowledge of procedure.)

As mentioned, many people in removal proceedings are eligible for a bond hearing; but not all. For more information, read What Happens at a Bond Hearing in Immigration Court.

Getting Help If You Receive an ERO Call-In Letter

ICE's authority to arrest and detain people has been the subject of many lawsuits and court decisions. That means there could have been changes to the law by the time you read this, or that the law might have been interpreted in unique ways by the federal courts serving the area where you live.

If you have received an ERO call-in letter and have questions about how best to prepare for your appointment, consult an experienced immigration attorney with knowledge of your local ICE field office's practices. The attorney can also help you with your removal case, and possibly find defenses to removal that would allow you to remain in the United States. See, for example, Possible Defenses to Deportation of an Undocumented Alien.

I Received a G-56 Call-In Letter From ICE – Does It Mean I’ll Get Arrested? (2024)

FAQs

What is a G56 call-in notice? ›

Website. Call for a Consultation (916) 432-1156. Posted on Mar 11, 2023. A G-56 notice is a request for additional information or documentation from USCIS after your N-400 citizenship interview. It is typically issued when USCIS needs more information to make a decision on your application.

What happens when ICE picks you up from jail? ›

ICE can put an immigration “hold” or “detainer” on you if you are deportable. If ICE puts a hold on you, ICE will likely pick you up from the jail. To allow ICE to do this, the jail will probably keep you for up to 48 hours after the time you are supposed to be released.

What is an ICE call in letter? ›

A G-56 Call-in Letter contains several key items. First, the letter contains the name of the person whom the letter is addressed to and that person's full address. Second, the letter contains a short sentence instructing the person to report to a specific ICE Field Office at a certain date and time.

How long does it take ICE to deport someone? ›

The exact length of the deportation process will vary widely from case to case. Further, some cases may qualify for an expedited deportation process which can result in a removal order being issued within weeks. But typically, the deportation process can take up to three years to complete.

What is a PD G 56 form? ›

The G-56 will tell you exactly where you should go and your appointment time. During the appointment, a duty officer might ask you questions about where you live, your ties to the community, your employment if any, and any prior contacts with law enforcement.

What is the order of release on recognizance? ›

An Order of Release on Recognizance and Order of Supervision are common forms from ICE that let a person not be detained only on certain conditions. The conditions are listed on the forms where there are check boxes or anything written in.

How long do people stay in the ICE detention center? ›

State-by-State Details on Detention Length
TotalDetention Days
Average
New Mexico61515
Arizona10,76816
California10,30223
28 more rows
Jun 3, 2013

How to get out of ICE detention? ›

ICE Will Set Initial Bond: If you are detained but eligible for bond, the government will set an initial bond amount. If you post this bond, you will be released. If you cannot afford the bond, you can write to the immigration court and ask for a bond re-determination hearing.

What crimes does ICE investigate? ›

HSI criminal investigators, also referred to as special agents, conduct criminal and civil investigations involving national security threats, terrorism, drug smuggling, child exploitation, human trafficking, illegal arms export, financial crimes, identity fraud, benefit fraud, commercial fraud and more.

Why would I get a call from ICE? ›

Unsolicited calls from fake officials: USCIS and ICE will never request payment over the phone. Be wary of scammers that ask for sensitive or personal information, demand payment and threaten deportation if you do not comply.

How do I check my ICE status? ›

Check an immigration court case status

For the status of an immigration court case, use the automated case information system online or call 1-800-898-7180.

Can I get my passport back from ICE? ›

Can I get it back? You can request your identification, passport, or other paperwork at your ICE Check-in appointment. ICE will review your request to determine if it can be returned or needs to continue to be held.

How do I know if I have an order of deportation? ›

How do I know if I have a deportation order? You can check with your Alien number by calling 1-800-898-7180.

What happens before you get deported? ›

The foreign national may be held in a detention center before trial or deportation. Find out how to locate someone detained by ICE. After a noncitizen is detained, they may go before a judge in immigration court during the deportation (removal) process.

Does ICE hold mean deportation? ›

Does an immigration hold mean I will be deported? Not necessarily. It is important to note that an ICE hold is not an order of deportation or removal. An ICE hold simply means that the individual will likely be taken into immigration custody by ICE officials.

Who makes the G56 transmission? ›

The Mercedes-Benz G56 is a heavy-duty longitudinal manual transmission designed for truck use. This six-speed transmission began to be used in the Ram 2500 through 5500 pickup and chassis-cab trucks during the 2005 model year, as the cast-iron 6-speed New Venture Gear 5600 transmission was being phased out.

What is an I-862 form? ›

(a) Notice to Appear

Removal proceedings begin when the Department of Homeland Security files a Notice to Appear (Form I-862) with the immigration court after it is served on the respondent. See 8 C.F.R. §§ 1003.13 , 1003.14 .

What is form i385? ›

This document is a “Notice to Report,” Form I-385. The U.S. government gives this form to some people who cross the Mexico-United States border. Typically, the form tells you to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office within 60 days.

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