The agency that holds children, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Division of Unaccompanied Children (ORR-DUCS) is the agency that decides whether children can be released or whether they have to stay in custody. This is different from the adult immigration detention system. In the adult immigration system, ICE and an Immigration Judge have the power to release someone.
The staff of ORR-DUCS who make the release decision are not just one individual, but a team of social workers and case managers who evaluate the release application submitted by children’s families.
Once a child is caught by immigration, immigration has 48 hours to deliver the child to an ORR-DUCS shelter. Once the child is at the shelter, the shelter staff will work with the child to learn the contact information of relatives, and they will begin contacting the relatives. Once the relatives have been contacted by the shelter, the shelter and the relatives will work together to figure out who would be the most appropriate person in the family to apply for the child’s release. Then the shelter workers will provide the family members with all the application materials to be completed in order for the family to ask for the child to be released to them.
The shelter staff will send a complete information packet with all the forms that they need to a person interested in applying to get a child released from immigration detention into the person’s care. Generally, the application includes:
For the Los Angeles area, Catholic Charities is the only agency that provides the service to applicants to get their fingerprints taken electronically to speed up the application process. To make an appointment to have your fingerprints taken electronically to support an application to get a child out of detention, call Catholic Charities, at (213) 251-3411.