March 31, 2015

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Arrest & Detention of Foreign Nationals

 
Gordon Graham
Category: Law Enforcement, Corrections

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s tip deals with the treatment of foreign nationals, a citizen of another country, in our custody.

Dealing with foreign nationals is a classic example of a high risk/how frequency event.

If you’ve ever heard any of my live presentations, you know that I like to focus on high risk/low frequency events. These are the situations that don’t happen to us very often but can cause us huge amounts of grief if they aren’t handled correctly. Dealing with foreign nationals is a classic example of a high risk/how frequency event.

Whenever a foreign national is detained or arrested they must be advised of their right to have their consular officials notified in a language that they can understand. 

A traffic stop would not necessarily trigger the need for a consular notification; however, a detention of several hours or an arrest would.

In some cases, the nearest consular official must be notified, regardless of the foreign national’s wishes. The decision to notify or not is based upon several different treaties and agreements with the various countries. Your best reference is the United States Department of State for the most up-to-date lists.

Consular officials are entitled access to their nationals in detention and are entitled to provide consular assistance, but are not allowed to practice law in the United States. They may however act as “friends of the court” to assist in the preparation of a defense.

The United States Department of State suggests that correctional personnel should permit a consular officer the same access to a foreign national that they would want an American consular officer to have to a an American citizen in a similar situation in a foreign country.

We’ve only barely scratched the surface of dealing with foreign nationals in today’s tip.  Do a web search and get the latest information from the US State Department.  Make sure you agency’s and custody facility’s policies are up to date. 

And that is Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.

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