ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) Holds Explained

Posted over 5 years ago. 36 helpful votes



I've Got an ICE Hold and Can't Bail Out. What Is It?

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is the agency that replaced the INS. ICE agents regularly sweep county jails looking for inmates who have no documentation or their alleged crime is deportable. ICE will place a hold on their release. Thereafter in theory the local authority can release the suspect only to ICE.


Who Picks Up ICE Holds?

Undocumented aliens and suspects whose origins are from outside the US (they may be documented) but whose crime would make them subject to deportation or removal. In many states with high populations of illegals ICE agents sweep the county jails twice a week to identify their victims.


What Can I Do?

Certainly you need an immigration lawyer with criminal experience. ICE holds are only good for 48 hours after the local authority is through with the suspect. If ICE doesn't come within that time the suspect may be released but since most jails ignore the deadline you may need a lawyer to get out.


What if ICE Does Come?

In most cases they do. The suspect is then removed to ICE detention centers often at locations remote from all sources of help. ICE agents will try to convince the suspect to leave the US voluntarily which for some may be best. If you don't force deportation proceedings you can apply for re-entry at a later date. If you want to fight deportation you are put on a trial track where an immigration judge, not a jury, will decide your fate. Your lawyer can still under certain circumstances bond you out of ICE proceedings. The proceedings will continue but you are no longer incarcerated. What actually happens at you ICE hearing is beyond the scope of this guide.

Additional Resources

John M. Kaman

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