Immigration law blog

What to do if a friend or family member is detained (at the Northwest Detention Center)?

Where is my loved one located? 

If your friend or family member has been detained by Immigration in the state of Washington, he or she is likely being held at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma, Washington. To confirm whether an individual is detained, and where, you can use the ICE Detainee Locator, which can be found at: To use this tool, you will either need the individual’s A# (alien registration number) and country of birth or his or her full name and country of birth.

Can he or she get out on bond?

Certain individuals are eligible to be released on bond while their cases are pending. If the ICE official who processed the individual did not set a bond, the individual will need to request a bond hearing before an Immigration Judge. The individual can either hire an immigration attorney, who can request this hearing, or he or she can fill out a paper request and submit it to the court. Some individuals, such as those who have been transferred from criminal custody for certain offenses or those who have been removed (deported) in the past, may not be eligible for bond. An immigration attorney experienced in detained cases can review your case to determine bond eligibility.

Will he or she be allowed to see a judge?

Most individuals are given the opportunity to go before an Immigration Judge. However, certain individuals, such as those who have been removed (deported) in the past, may not be given the opportunity to see a Judge. It is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after being detained in order to determine your options.

What if my family member has been deported in the past?

If an individual has been deported in the past, as ICE may reinstate, or reuse, the prior deportation order and deport the individual again without allowing him or her the opportunity to see a Judge. If your family member has been deported in the past, it is important to consult with an Immigration attorney immediately to see if there is any way to fight his or her case.

Will he or she be given an attorney?

Typically, immigrants in removal (deportation) proceedings are NOT given free legal representation, unless they are deemed incompetent to represent themselves because of mental illness or other incapacity. You can either hire a private attorney, if you have the funds to do so, or request assistance from the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, which can provide legal orientation and assistance.

Can I visit my loved one?

NWDC has family visitation each week from Thursday through Sunday. Visitation times depend on the detainee’s classification (levels 1-3). To visit, you will need to know your detainee’s full name and A#. For more information on visitation, as well as how to put funds on your detainee’s phone and commissary accounts, you can visit: We do not recommend visitation if you do not have legal status in the United States. 


L.I.H. Law is a trusted immigration law firm with our office conveniently located in Seattle, near the Seattle Space Needle (2nd Ave and Denny Way).

Our well-respected lawyers exclusively practice immigration law, covering diverse topics: asylum, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), fiancé visas (K-1 visas), green cards, immigration status for victims of domestic violence or other crimes, naturalization applications, and much more.

The immigration lawyers and professional staff at L.I.H. Law are dedicated to providing the right solutions to meet our clients’ immigration needs.  Our entire staff is fluent in Spanish and has served clientele from around the world.

Supporting our local immigration community is important to us. Our immigration lawyers and staff are active in volunteering for various community events and organizations, and conducting pro-bono work.

Kristin Kyrka

Kristin Kyrka joined L.I.H. Law as an associate attorney in 2014. She received her B.A. from Wesleyan University (Connecticut) in 2004 and graduated from the University of Washington School of Law in 2011. During law school, Kristin worked with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the Washington Defender Association Immigration Project, and she served as a migrant farm worker advocate in Eastern Washington with Columbia Legal Services. Prior to joining L.I.H. Law, Kristin represented immigrant detainees facing removal at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington. Kristin serves as a pro bono attorney with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project’s Immigrant Families Advocacy Project, and as a volunteer for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Citizenship Day events. She is also active in the Washington Chapter of AILA, serving on the Asylum, EOIR, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement committees. Kristin speaks fluent Spanish.

L.I.H. Law, P.S., Immigration Lawyer, Seattle, WA