Every crime in California is defined by a specific code section. Our attorneys explain the law, penalties and best defense strategies for every major crime in California.
An ICE hold refers to a written request from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to a local jail or other law enforcement agency that has taken a person into custody after a lawful arrest. The request asks that the jail or agency detain the person for an additional 48 hours after his/her scheduled release date.
The purpose of the request is so that ICE agents can have extra time to determine if they want to detain the arrestee for deportation proceedings. ICE holds are often referred to as:
Note that ICE is the primary investigative agency for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). ICE’s mission is to advance homeland security by enforcing federal rules regarding
If you have a loved one or family member that is subject to a hold, it is critical for you to contact an immigration attorney for help. A skilled immigration lawyer can challenge the legality of a hold and work to get your loved one released.
Whenever local law enforcement agencies arrest someone in a criminal case, the arrestee’s name and fingerprints are transmitted to the FBI and ICE. If ICE believes the arrestee may be in the U.S. illegally, ICE can request that the county jail or agency of the federal government detain the arrestee and “hold” him/her for an additional 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays. This hold is referred to as an “ICE hold.”1
ICE officers request an ICE detention so that they can have extra time to investigate the arrestee to:
Note that an immigration hold, on its own, does not mean that an arrestee will be deported or taken to an ICE detention center or field office. It simply provides ICE with some extra time to decide whether it wants to initiate deportation proceedings against an undocumented immigrant.3
ICE will take an arrestee into custody if it decides that he/she is in the U.S. illegally, and it then transfers the person to a detention facility.
The agency will then likely commence removal proceedings and issue a Notice to Appear (NTA), which outlines the legal reasons why the detainee should be deported.
ICE defendants then may either be:
People held by ICE usually have the right to have their case presented to a judge in an immigration court.
If ICE does not take custody of an arrestee after 48 hours, the local law enforcement agency is required to release the person. The agency cannot legally hold a person beyond the 48-hour period.
Similarly, a jail or local sheriff’s department must release arrestees following detainer requests if ICE determines that they are either:
No. ICE asserts that it has authority to issue an immigration detention request under federal law.5
However, law enforcement agencies do not have to comply with a request, and they can legally deny one. This is because an immigration detainer is not a type of judicial warrant, and it is not supported by probable cause.
If a loved one or a family member is the subject of an ICE hold, it is imperative that you contact an immigration attorney for help.
An immigration lawyer can contact the local ICE office that has jurisdiction over the case and request that the agency lift its detainer.
If the arrestee is a U.S. citizen, an attorney can try to provide a field office with:
If your loved one is eventually taken into ICE custody, an attorney or law firm can:
Please note that all communications with a lawyer are protected by the attorney-client relationship. This means an attorney cannot disclose your confidences without your consent.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
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