How does the U.S. immigration system handle a Red Notice?

All member nations are required to establish a National Central Bureau (NCB) through which it will liaise with INTERPOL. In the United States, the NCB is co-managed by The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Many U.S. state and local law enforcement agencies have “read access” to databases maintained by INTERPOL, but only the U.S. NCB can request a Red Notice or other INTERPOL publication or transmit messages on behalf of the United States.

The requesting nation can choose to make public a redacted version of the Red Notice on the INTERPOL website, but by default, Red Notices are published and visible only to law enforcement agencies, such as DHS. This means that often an individual who is the subject of a Red Notice may not be aware of it until he or she is confronted by U.S. law enforcement – for example, when crossing an international border into the United States or when appearing for an interview before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), such as for an asylum hearing.

Unfortunately, experience shows that DHS itself does not fully comprehend the meaning and limits of a Red Notice. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has been known to use Red Notices to immediately categorize an individual as a danger to the community and a flight risk. The fact that ICE has stated that it uses Red Notices to guide its targeting implies that individuals who are seeking asylum—and who are therefore not U.S. citizens or green card holders—are particularly likely to be selected for arrest should they be named in a Red Notice.