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The INS Escort of Criminal Aliens
Report Number I-2001-005
June 2001


The INS Enforcement Standard

    This policy establishes guidelines for escorting persons detained under the authority of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by all officers of the Service. Previously issued Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) policy and guidelines on this subject are superseded by this policy.

    This policy applies to all INS personnel who apprehend, take into custody, transport or otherwise detain persons, with or without warrant, as authorized in the INA, as amended and delineated in Title 8, Code of Federal Regulations.

    Title 8, United States Code, Section 1357 (Section 287, INA), and Title 8, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 287 (8 CFR 287).

    It shall be Service policy that:

    1. All detainees in INS custody shall be escorted in a manner that is safe, secure, humane, and professional.

    2. All detainees will be escorted in accordance with classifications and procedures found within this standard. No detainee will be transported for any purpose without an assessment performed in accordance with the Use of Restraints standard.

    3. When escorting detainees, especially unaccompanied detainees of the opposite sex or juveniles, in Service vehicles, insofar as technologically possible and resources allow, all officers shall maintain regular radio or telephonic communication with other Service personnel.

    4. No detainee shall be transported without the assigned officer conducting his/her own search of the detainee's person, except when exigent circumstances pose a safety hazard or danger to the officer, detainee or public. In the latter case, a search shall be conducted as soon as practicable. A pat down search shall be the minimum search conducted. This includes officer-to-officer transfers, as well as transfers from an institution.

    5. Regardless of the means of transportation, no baggage, luggage or parcel shall be transported in a manner making it accessible by any detainee unless the item has been thoroughly searched by the officer transporting the detainee, except when exigent circumstances pose a safety hazard or danger to the officer, detainee or public. In the latter case, a search shall be conducted as soon as practicable.

    6. The passenger section of all empty INS vehicles and immediate confinement areas shall be searched prior to as well as following each escort to ensure that no weapons or contraband have been hidden or left behind.

    The Service shall be responsible for identifying and prodding approved restraints for use by all officers escorting detainees.

    Managers and supervisors are responsible for determining the need for and number of escorts required for any detainee in accordance with this standard and the classification system found in it.

    It is the responsibility of supervisors and officers to convey all known information of escape risks, criminal background or involvement, violence or medical indications to escorting officers.

    Escorting officers have the responsibility to determine the need and level of restraints used at any time while escorting a detainee. Such determination shall be based on articulable reason(s).

    Adult - A male or female person believed to be 18 years of age or older.

    Classification Officer - an Immigration Officer designated by a supervisor to determine the escort classification of a detainee.

    Contraband - Any item possessed by a detainee which is prohibited by the INS or by law.

    Detainee - Any person, regardless of citizenship or nationality, under arrest, detained, restrained, or confined by the INS or any other law enforcement agency.

    Escape Risk - Any detainee who, in the belief of an INS officer, may attempt escape from INS custody if not otherwise prevented. An individual who will actively seek opportunities to escape from INS custody.

    Escort - To transport or otherwise move any person detained under the laws of the United States.

    Immediate Relative - A person being one of the following to a detainee: spouse, parent, grandparent, child, sibling, aunt, uncle, or legal guardian. When applied to a juvenile, the immediate relative must be an adult.

    Juvenile - A person known or reasonably believed not to have reached his/her 18th birthday.

    Medical professional - A licensed doctor, nurse, practitioner, technician, or aide trained to treat, provide care, administer medication or services specific to the medical needs of the person being escorted.

    Pat-down Search - An examination in which an officer's hands briefly make contact with a detainee's body and clothing in order to detect and remove contraband and/or weapons.

    Unaccompanied Female - A female not in the company of an immediate relative.

    Unaccompanied Juvenile - A juvenile not in the company of an adult immediate relative.

    Weapon - Any object, item, or device that may be used to cause physical injury, incapacitate, or diminish capability, temporarily or permanently.

    When transported in a vehicle, detainees shall be restrained in accordance with the Use of Restraints Policy and when restrained, placed in seatbelts (when practicable). Depending upon the risk classification of the detainees, duration of travel, and destination, consideration may be given to the use of additional Service-approved restraints.

    It is recognized there may be situations, such as emergencies, where only one officer may be available to provide escort service.

    Under normal circumstances, apply the procedures below:

    1. Escorts Using INS Sedans, Vans, or Utility Vehicles.

      When a lone officer transports an unaccompanied detainee of the opposite sex or an unaccompanied juvenile, he/she shall maintain regular electronic voice communication with a supervisor, radio operator, or other INS personnel at a separate location, insofar as technologically possible. At a minimum, communication shall include the officer's or unit's identity, route of travel, current location, and mileage, as a security precaution. See Standard III C.

      1. Unsecured sedan/van/utility vehicle: A lone officer shall not transport more than two detainees in an unsecured vehicle, except when accompanied by other law enforcement vehicles. Two officers may transport no more than the rated capacity of the vehicle permits.

      2. Secured sedan/van/utility vehicle: One officer may escort the number of detainees permitted by the vehicle's rated capacity. Such escorts are permitted provided the officer will not be involved in movement of the detainees outside the vehicle without other assistance. Movements over long distances or time or requiring stops for food or fuel will normally require more than one officer.

    2. Movement of Detainees Via INS or Charter Bus. All applicable Department of Transportation laws, rules and regulations will be observed, especially relating to the number of hours a driver may be on duty and rest breaks. In addition to these requirements the following procedures will also be applied:

      1. Unsecured bus: There shall be a minimum of two (2) officers on the bus. This may include the driver if both are INS officers. They shall have radio or cellular telephone communication and, if authorized by an Authorizing Official pursuant to the INS Firearms Policy, shall be armed. Officers shall not be armed while in the area where detainees are seated. Depending upon the risk level of the detainees, duration of travel and destination, consideration should be given to the use of additional officers and an escort vehicle.

      2. Secured bus: A minimum of two officers shall be used on all escorts; this includes a driver and a security officer. They shall have radio or cellular telephone communication and, if authorized by an Authorizing Official pursuant to the INS Firearms Policy, shall be armed. Officers shall not be armed while in the secured (caged) portion of the vehicle.

        Local V/R runs, using secured buses, within districts or Border Patrol sectors may be exempted from the two-officer requirement so long as the bus is equipped with a Service radio and the route taken permits immediate response to a request for back-up.

      3. Family groups, unaccompanied females and unaccompanied juveniles shall be separated from unrelated adult males by separate passenger compartments or an empty row of seats. These detainees shall be transported separately from other detainees, if possible. See Standard III C.

      4. When two or more buses (secured or not) are used together, one escort vehicle and at least two additional officers should be used.

    3. Escorting Detainees on Justice Prisoner & Alien Transportation System (JPATS) Aircraft.

      Detainees transported on JPATS aircraft (and vehicles) are subject to the policies and stipulations found in the JPATS Prisoner Transportation Manual. Officers should consult that reference for instructions regarding the use of restraints and escorts on JPATS aircraft.

    4. Escorting Detainees on Commercial Aircraft.

      Personnel assigned to making reservations to transport detainees on scheduled commercial aircraft will normally advise the airline(s) one day before the anticipated flight of the intention to transport a detainee under the control of a law enforcement officer. Persons making reservations shall notify the carrier or agent accepting the reservation of each traveler's escort classification. In accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations (14 CER 108), under no circumstances, exigent or otherwise, will this notification take place less than one (1) hour prior to the flight. Airlines are under no obligation to transport an officer and/or his/her escortee. Corporate airline policy on the types and use of restraints varies between airlines and airports. The aircraft's captain has the ultimate authority as to who may travel on his/her aircraft and to determine the use of restraining devices on any flight. If the captain's decision is unacceptable, the officer shall deplane and make other arrangements.

      1. All detainees shall be classified by a supervisor or classification officer prior to being transported on commercial carriers using the classification system described below. The supervisor shall be required to make an assessment of the detainee using the Service's classification standards prior to escorting any detainee. Factors considered shall include the detainee's known criminal background, past behavior, potential risk to the public, medical condition, sex, age and ability to resist an officer's control of the detainee effectively. Notation of the detainee's escort classification by category number shall be made on the Record of Persons and Property Transferred, Form 1-2 16, in the margin immediately to the left of each person's name and "A" file number. Absent Form 1-2 16, written record should be made on any local flight arrangements sheet to be permanently retained in the alien's file. Similarly, the escorting officer's classification of restraint level should be noted in the same location on the form 1-2 16. See Standard on Use of Restraints.

        When one or more factors indicate greater safety or escape risk, the officer should always exercise discretion in favor of more caution and greater supervision. Escorts required for a detainee classified using this classification method shall only be counted toward the escort requirements of one group. For example, the two escorts required for a maximum risk alien shall not be calculated toward the requirements of lower risk groups of aliens traveling on the same aircraft, nor vice versa. Lone escorts shall not be used except for those aliens in Group 1 a.

        Group Descriptors Escort Required
        Group 1  
        Persons granted or permitted withdrawal of application for admission, or voluntary departure by a Chief Patrol Agent, District Director or an Immigration Judge. This presumes the person has good moral character and no known criminal background or asocial behavior. No escort required.
        Persons removed pursuant to an order of removal who have no known criminal background or asocial behavior.  
        Non-criminal aliens escorted to a point of departure, placed on the carrier and met by other INS officers at the point of arrival. 
        Group 1a  
        Persons in need of assistance because of age, infirmity, mental capacity, handicap or language barriers. Minimum of one escort.
        Medical parolee en route to half-way house or point of release from INS custody. 
        Unaccompanied juveniles. One escort of same sex per juvenile.
        Group 2  
        Persons at any time charged or convicted of non-violent crimes, or known to be criminally involved, determined by an INS officer to be non-violent. A group of fewer than 10 detainees requires no escorts. Minimum of 2 escorts for a group of 10 detainees. Each additional group of 5 requires 1 more escort.
        Group 3  
        Persons who are chargeable or were charged or convicted of criminal violations involving threat of force, assault, violence, or killing any person or animal. At least two escorts per detainee are required. When traveling to destinations within United States, these shall be armed officers.
        Persons who are or have been verbally abusive, verbally combative, confrontational, vulgar or verbally coercive during the course of their immigration proceedings or custody, or who have otherwise indicated willingness or intent to resist physical removal from the United States pursuant to a lawful order or finding.  
        Persons who are serving criminal sentences, being transferred or delivered to other jurisdictions where criminal proceedings are pending, regardless of whether or not the crime underlying the unexpired sentence or proceedings involved force or violence. 
        Group 3a  
        Individuals deemed by the U.S. Public Health Service or by competent medical authority to be in need of medical services during travel. Minimum of two escorts, plus a medical professional.

      2. The lead escort officer transporting aliens to commercial aircraft shall be responsible for providing the airline's representative a breakdown of aliens being placed on the flight, by classification type.

      3. All detainees determined to require escort aboard commercial aircraft, i.e., criminals, juveniles, medical cases, and escape risks, shall be processed for the flight with the airline's gate personnel at least one hour prior to the flight. The officers and detainee(s) should be preboarded and seated in the last row(s) of the aircraft whenever possible. Airlines may reassign escorted passengers to other seat assignments; however, escorting officers should be seated next to the detainee(s).

      4. Officers should use care and discretion when removing restraints from properly classified low risk detainees to avoid notice by the traveling public and airline personnel. Officers should be aware the general public may perceive persons transported to airline gates or boarded in restraints as threats to airline and passenger safety when traveling without escorts.

      5. In addition to properly assigning escorts in accordance with this standard and the classifications therein:

        1. Criminal juveniles should be escorted consistent with the classification criteria for adult detainees with the same background. See Use of Restraints Standard.

        2. Non-criminal juveniles may be escorted by certain designated non-INS personnel under contract or interagency agreement with the INS in place of INS officers.

        3. All Federal Aviation Administration regulations pertaining to transporting "maximum risky individuals in custody of law enforcement officers shall be observed.

        4. When making travel arrangements, reasonable efforts must be made to observe individual airline policies regarding the transporting of detainees.

        5. At least one escort shall be the same sex as the detainee.

      6. Food and beverages:

        1. Detainees who require officer escorts shall not be served meals that require metal utensils that could be used as weapons. This information should be conveyed to the carrier when making reservations. Plastic utensils are permissible if the escorting officer determines their composition is such that they do not constitute a threat to the officer's or the public's safety.

        2. Escorted detainees may not consume alcoholic beverages while in the custody of an INS officer. Likewise, an officer shall not consume alcoholic beverages when escorting detainees nor while carrying a firearm. See AM 20.0 12. Firearms Policy Standard.

      7. Airlines shall be notified of high risk or criminal aliens at the earliest point in the arrangement process. If there are indications of outside intervention against or on behalf of the detainee, commercial air travel shall not be utilized. Alternate modes of transportation, such as government aircraft, shall be used.

      8. Foreign flights:

        1. To Designated Country: Except when foreign laws, regulations, or policies countervail, or international agreements stipulate otherwise, or prior arrangements have been made to transfer custody of a detainee to foreign officials, restraining devices shall be removed after Landing and immediately prior to disembarking in the detainee's designated country of deportation. The individual should be allowed to disembark without restraints.

        In situations where, because of restrictions on their use, restraints must be removed before landing in the detainee's designated country, the responsible supervisor will assure that sufficient officers are assigned to provide for the safety of the Officers and the public.

        1. Transiting countries en route: Managers, supervisors, and officers should take appropriate steps to familiarize themselves with the applicable rules, regulations, laws and policies relating to the carriage and use of restraints when escorting persons through other countries en route to the escortee's stipulated country of repatriation. This may require advance notification of both the foreign government and United States officials in the countries anticipated to be transited.

        When a removal requires escorts and the use of restraints, and the itinerary requires transiting a third country, arrangements shall only be made to transit countries which permit the use of restraints to execute valid removal orders.

        If the person escorted presents a risk to the escorts or the public, and a suitable itinerary using a third country permitting the use of restraints cannot be arranged, JPATS shall be contacted to arrange for either a government or charter aircraft. If JPATS cannot accommodate the removal, Headquarters Office of Field Operations shall be contacted for guidance or authorization to use other means of transportation.

    5. Medical Escorts:

      1. Consistent with the INS medical policies, and as clinically indicated, a medical professional shall escort a detainee with a minimum of two Service officers; During transport, the medical escort will sit as close to the detainee and INS escort officers as possible. At no time will the medical escort assume security responsibilities for the detainee while in the air or on the ground. Additionally, prescription medication shall be provided only by a medical professional for the treatment of diagnosed illnesses, e.g., heart disease, depression, or other conditions. Under no circumstances shall detainees be medicated solely to facilitate transport, unless a medical professional determines that they present a danger to themselves or to others. Disposition of medication and related equipment is the responsibility of the medical escort.

      2. In all cases, the detainee shall be accompanied by up-to-date, copies of his/her medical records, which shall be carried in a sealed envelope or folder, clearly marked "Medical Records, To Be Opened By Authorized Medical Personnel Only." The detainee shall be accompanied by medical supplies and medication sufficient for the duration of the trip, plus at least three days.

      3. Do not transport detainees who have not been medically screened on commercial aircraft. Those transported on JPATS are subject to stipulations found in the JPATS Prisoner Transport Manual.

    6. Medical Precautions:

      Officers should be alert for symptoms such as coughing, fever, sweating and emaciation, in addition to obviously open wounds or bleeding. If an officer suspects that an alien may be infected with a contagious disease, the following precautions should be taken:

      1. Transport the alien in a separate vehicle from other aliens.

      2. Place a surgical mask on the alien.*

      3. Seat the alien in the rear of the vehicle, next to an open window to provide as much ventilation as possible.

      *USPHS authorities have advised that a surgical mask is considered adequate for these purposes. A HEPA mask is not necessary.

      ___ Approved

      ___ Not approved

      ___________    _______
       (Signature)       (Date)