The Missouri Immigration Detention System

Missouri has one immigration detention facility, the Montgomery County Jail, that’s part of the immigration detention system. KC Immigration Lawyers in North Kansas City, MO can help you navigate complex immigration concerns.

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What Is Immigration Detention?

Immigration detention is the act of holding immigrants in custody until they are cleared to remain in the country or deported from it. United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Enforcement and Removal Operations oversee the management of the country’s civil immigration detention system.

Undocumented people and migrants are detained until the immigration court decides their case.

In the United States, adults and families are detained by the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and ICE, which reports to the Department of Homeland Security. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within the Department of Health and Human Services houses unaccompanied minors.

You will have to meet the requirements of ICE to get information about anyone in the detention centers. The immigrants can also be released on bond if it is determined that they are not a flight, public safety, or national security risk.

How Does Immigration Detention Work in Missouri?

Missouri has several detention centers, each with similar but slightly different rules of operation. There are specific visitation hours rules that the detainee must abide by. Usually, attorneys can visit more frequently and even during the weekends and holidays.

At the Morgan County Detention Center, for instance, detainees are allowed 30-minute no-contact visits with no more than one visit per visitation day and three visitors at a time. Video visits are also available throughout the week in the detention facility. Mail is searched for contraband, and no over-the-counter medications are allowed.

You can always contact the detention center or visit their website before visiting to know their rules. Detainees are also given a list of all pro bono legal organizations that handle immigration in most detention centers. The consular and clergy may also pay visits but with the knowledge of the center. 

Immigration Bonds

You can post a delivery bond to have the migrant released into your care at any of Missouri’s ICE-ERO acceptance offices. One of the centers is the USCIS Kansas City office at 11125 N. Ambassador Drive, Suite 100. You can post a bond there from 9 AM to 3 PM, Mondays to Fridays. It should also be noted that some county jails do not accept immigration bonds.

If there is any aspect of the detention process that you do not understand, you can speak to an immigration attorney. 

Missouri Immigration Detention Statistics

According to studies in 2023, 56.7% of ICE immigration detainees in detention facilities nationwide have no criminal record. Many others only have minor offenses on their record, like traffic violations. In Missouri, data shows that over 500 unaccompanied children have been released to sponsors in the state between October 2022 and March 2023.

What Happens at Immigration Detention Centers?

Living Conditions

  • The living conditions at detention facilities are usually not ideal.
  • Detainees may have to wear a uniform/jumpsuit and are guarded by uniformed officers.
  • Most personal effects are removed until they are released.
  • An alien registration number is assigned to each detainee.
  • They are also given a specific bed. Guards in some facilities refer to detainees by their bed and alien registration number. 
  • There is limited privacy, and detainees may also have to share rooms with others. Some centers do not have enough furniture, leading to many detainees standing or lying on the floor during the day.
  • There are no free movements as the center determines the time to sleep and wake up. 
  • Detainees must also go through “counts” during which they cannot meet with visitors.


  • Communicating from detention facilities can also be challenging. Detainees cannot receive calls, though urgent messages can be left on the provided line.
  • Making calls can also be expensive but can be done with a calling card if a system is in place. Some facilities also allow detainees to make free calls to legal aid groups. 
  • Mails can be slow as the center inspects every outgoing and incoming mail.
  • Visitation is only allowed within specified hours. Physical contact is limited, and detainees may only be able to speak to their visitors through a plastic window or across a table.  

How Long Does It Take to Get Out of Immigration Detention?

Several factors determine how long it will take for a detainee to get out of detention. While the standard procedure is that a detainee gets deported or released from detention within or after 72 hours, it is hardly ever the case. 

Due to a large number of people entering the system, cases are attended to slowly, and there are detainees, including children, staying for far longer. The Flores Settlement Agreement has established stringent rules and guidelines for a minor’s custody, care, and treatment in the federal system. In this agreement, the federal government has consented to maintain kids in the least restrictive environments and to secure their speedy release from immigration detention, among other things.

Depending on a person’s circumstances and threat level, a detainee can stay as long as three months at a detention center. There have also been people who have remained in custody for years. A person considered a high threat level is ineligible for a bond and is likelier to stay longer in detention. In some cases, a person may be subject to ‘mandatory detention.’ That means the person may not be released under any circumstances. It is possible that ICE is wrong when it determines a person is subject to mandatory detention.

When Do Immigrants Get Released?

As mentioned earlier, a detainee can either get released or deported back to their country. Detainees could be granted a bond by ICE after an obligator pays a certain amount of money and takes responsibility for their stay in the US. They could also be released on certain conditions, like wearing an ankle monitor or doing check-ins at ICE. 

They can apply for a bond with a judge during their immigration review process if they are not granted one by the ICE. They can also apply for asylum to stay in the US. 

How Can an Immigration Lawyer Help?

Do you have a loved one who has been detained? Immigration detention facilities are not one of the most hospitable places to stay.

Kansas City Immigration Lawyers can increase your chances of winning immigration proceedings. These professionals understand immigration law and can help you favorably present your defense.

Consider speaking with KC Immigration Lawyers to know what steps to take for the release of your loved ones. They can also help you with other procedures, such as filling a Form I-485. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today!