Is Deportation Record Public? A Comprehensive Guide for Immigrants and Their Families

Is the deportation record public?
Is the deportation record public?

Deportation is a grave and anxiety-inducing circumstance that can impact the lives of immigrants and their families significantly.

If you or someone you know is confronting deportation, numerous questions and apprehensions may arise.

One common concern is whether deportation records are publicly accessible, allowing anyone to obtain information about the case and status.

This article aims to address these inquiries and offer guidance on managing deportation-related issues.

What is deportation, and how does it work?

Deportation, also referred to as removal, is the procedure of expelling a noncitizen from the United States due to violations of immigration laws or other grounds.

The authority to order deportation lies with an immigration judge, immigration officer, or federal court.

This process entails severe repercussions, including the loss of the right to return to the United States, potential separation from family and friends, and potential hardships in the individual’s country of origin.

Typically initiated with a Notice to Appear (NTA), detailing charges and the hearing’s date and location, deportation proceedings afford noncitizens the right to hire legal representation, present evidence, and appeal decisions.

However, some individuals may be subject to expedited removal, wherein they face deportation without a hearing or the opportunity to defend themselves.

Is the deportation record public or private?

Legally, deportation information is publicly accessible but requires specific details for retrieval.

To locate information about an individual’s deportation, essential details such as their name, date of birth, country of origin, and alien registration number (A-number) are necessary.

The A-number is a unique identifier found on immigration documents like green cards, visas, work permits, and notices to appear.

Various methods exist to determine whether someone has been deported, depending on the type and date of the action. Common approaches include:

  1. ICE Online Detainee Locator System: This website enables searching for individuals currently in ICE custody or released within the last 60 days. Searches can be conducted by A-number and country of birth or by name and country of birth. However, the system lacks details about the case outcome.
  2. Immigration Court Records: If the immigration court that handled the case is known, online or phone searches through the EOIR CASE STATUS ONLINE or EOIR Automated Case Information Hotline can provide information on case status, hearing date, and judge’s name. These systems, however, do not offer details about the final decision or the person’s location post-hearing.
  3. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request: A formal request for government records related to the deportation case can be submitted to USCIS, ICE, or EOIR, depending on the records sought. Required information includes the person’s name, A-number, date of birth, and country of origin, along with the requester’s contact details. A FOIA request may take months or years to process, with no guaranteed access to the desired records. Consent from the person or proof of death may also be necessary.


How Do You Deal with Deportation Issues?

In the event of facing deportation, it’s crucial to promptly seek legal guidance and representation for yourself or someone you know.

An immigration attorney can assist in comprehending rights and options, preparing a defense, and advocating for the best interests.

They can also facilitate access to and review of deportation records when necessary.

Maintaining composure, staying informed, and refraining from decisions or statements that may jeopardize the case are advisable.

Keeping in contact with family and friends and seeking support from community organizations and resources is vital.

While deportation is a challenging and intricate process, remember that you are not alone; numerous individuals and groups are available to provide assistance and guidance during this difficult time.


Deportation is a public record, but it is not easy to access. You need to have some basic details to locate information about a specific individual, and you may need to use different methods depending on the type and date of the action.

If you or someone you know is facing deportation, you should seek legal help and support as soon as possible.

Deportation can have serious and lasting consequences, but you have rights and options that you should explore and exercise.

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