Glossary of Terms

A list of terms to help navigate being an

undocumented person and/or advocate


Brizuela v. Feliciano (2013) challenged the honoring of immigration detainers by the Connecticut Department of Correction (DOC) as the sole basis for detention of individuals in its custody beyond the time when they would otherwise be released from state custody. Under the terms of the settlement, DOC adopted a policy of case-by-case review of detainers, according to which detainers will only be honored if certain public dangerousness criteria are met.  Several months after the Brizuela settlement was executed, the Connecticut General Assembly passed and Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the CT TRUST Act, which extends many of the Brizuela protections to persons subject to an immigration detainer who are in the custody of state and local police, judicial marshals, and other law enforcement agencies.

Criminal Alien Program (“CAP”) – is the largest Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation program. CAP is the overall name for ICE’s work in local jails, state prisons, and federal prisons where they search for immigrants to deport. This includes, but is not limited to: ICE access to jail databases, formal and informal agreements for jails to contact ICE about inmates, ICE visits to jails to conduct interviews of persons in custody, and ICE agents being regularly stationed in the jail. Currently, CAP is a major portion of operations at all ICE field offices and is active in most local jails across the country, as well as state and federal prisons.

CT TRUST Act – In 2013, the Connecticut state legislature passed the Transparency and Responsibility Using State Tools Act (the “TRUST Act”), which extended Brizuela’s (Brizuela v. Feliciano) protections regarding detainer enforcement to agents of the Department of Correction, state and local law enforcement officers, judicial marshals, and state marshals.  The law prevents these individuals from detaining individuals based solely on a civil immigration detainer unless the person has been convicted of a felony, is subject to a final order of deportation or removal, or meets one of the other qualifying criteria stated in the Act.  If an individual is detained, ICE must take custody within forty-eight hours or the individual will be released.  Advocates have criticized the TRUST Act’s “loophole” for the detention of individuals subject to a prior removal order. 

DACA-mented– This term is used by undocumented individuals who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA-mented (similar to Dreamer) is sometimes used as a way to navigate away from the negative connotations given to terms such as undocumented immigrant, non-U.S. citizen and so forth.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – DACA is a program, announced on June 12, 2012 that protects successful applicants from deportation and gives them work authorization for a renewal period of 2 years. It is important to note that DACA provides lawful presence but it does not provide lawful status.

Detainers are ways for ICE to apprehend someone who is in criminal custody. PEP detainers include hold requests, notification requests, and catchall custody requests. An ICE hold is a voluntary request from ICE to local law enforcement to hold an individual for 48 hours past the time they would have been released on their criminal case (e.g. on bail, when charges were dismissed, or at the end of a jail sentence). A request for notification of release date asks the local agency to tell ICE when an individual is going to be released, so that ICE can be there at that time to arrest them. A catchall request that may ask for a hold and for notification.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – refers to the federal law enforcement agency under the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for identifying, investigating, and dismantling vulnerabilities regarding the nation’s border, economic, transportation, and infrastructure security.

Immigration Detention: Once someone is arrested by ICE, they may be released or detained in immigration custody. If detained, they can be transferred to hundreds of jails across the nation. These include private for-profit prisons and contracted local county jails. In immigration detention, people have no right to be provided with a lawyer, and often suffer terrible conditions, including solitary confinement and poor medical care. There are no public defenders and some immigrants may have to fight their case via video, never seeing the judge in person.

Priority Enforcement Program or “PEP-Comm” (formerly known as S-Comm) is a federal program that checks fingerprints taken by local law enforcement against immigration databases. All fingerprints taken by local law officers at arrest are shared with the FBI, and then passed to ICE. If ICE is interested in an individual, agents may issue a request for notification of release date of the person, or ask the local agency to hold the person for ICE to come take custody. Fingerprint sharing and PEP-Comm generally exists everywhere in the U.S.

Sensitive locations – Refers to the sites that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have each issued and implemented policies concerning enforcement actions at or focused on ‘sensitive locations.’ Such sites include: Schools, such as known and licensed daycares, pre-schools and other early learning programs; primary schools; secondary schools; post-secondary schools up to and including colleges and universities; as well as scholastic or education-related activities or events, and school bus stops that are marked and/or known to the officer, during periods when school children are present at the stop; Medical treatment and health care facilities, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, accredited health clinics, and emergent or urgent care facilities; Places of worship, such as churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples; Religious or civil ceremonies or observances, such as funerals and weddings; and during public demonstration, such as a march, rally, or parade.

Undocumented – Refers to people who are not U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents of the United States, who do not hold a current visa to reside in the U.S. and who have not been approved for legal residency in the U.S.

Undocu-ally – This term is used to refer to people who are not undocumented or had the undocumented immigrant experience who verbally and in actions take a stance to fight shoulder to shoulder with the affected community.

Undocu-friendly – This term is used to refer to schools that have systems and practices in place that work with and for undocumented students. For example, a school that is inviting and public about their support for undocumented students and invests resources in their students by providing scholarships and programs is an undocu-friendly school.