A recent NPR article detailed the plight of U.S. citizens who find themselves in deportation proceedings, unable to prove their legitimate citizenship. This is the case even though it is illegal for U.S. immigration authorizations to hold American citizens in immigration detention. For some citizens, trying to prove their citizenship is much more difficult than expected. While this might seem like an isolated incident, the reality is that hundreds of Americans each year find themselves in this very predicament. More specifically, the data analyzed by NPR indicates that between 2007 and 2015, local jails held 693 Americans on federal detainers, which are requests from immigration authorities to hold particular inmates. During that same time frame, immigration detention facilities held an additional 818 Americans. While these individuals represent only a tiny percentage of the individuals held on federal detainers or housed in immigration detention facilities, the reality is that these detentions never should occur in the first place. To make matters worse, many of these individuals, even after asserting their citizenship, found themselves enmeshed in a confusing system which they never should have been part of in the first place. Some were detained for days or months, some were denied bail, and most were not even given access to a lawyer. There is no right to a court-appointed attorney in civil immigration cases. Although Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) declined NPR’s request for an interview, one ICE official did say that it was far more common to encounter immigrants falsely claiming citizenship in order to avoid removal, rather than individuals who are actually citizens. Plus, the ICE official claimed that there were several effective safeguards in place designed to prevent American citizens from being wrongfully detained for immigration purposes. At Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., our goal is to help you or your family member gain release from immigration detention. We dedicate our practice to protecting the rights of noncitizens while detained and working toward release from detention, no matter what type of deportation charges an individual may be facing. We know how to evaluate your case, explore your options, and provide you with the strongest defense against removal possible. Contact your California deportation defense attorneys today and set up an appointment to speak with our legal team.