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How long can you be on detained under immigration hold?

San Diego, CA |

Has been detained by ICE for a week, no court date set yet. What is average time frame?

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Attorney answers 2


It varies. The Immigration and Nationality Act allows ICE to detain certain persons indefinitely while a judge determines whether the person should be allowed to remain in the U.S. Most persons are entitled to a hearing in front of an immigration judge, unless they were previously ordered deported. Some persons are eligible for release on bond, and can request a bond hearing from an immigration judge. Others are subject to mandatory detention and can only request release on supervision by ICE. In this situation, a week is usually sufficient for ICE to prepare and file paperwork with the immigration court. I would contact the local ICE detention and removal officer with authority over the file and find out what is happening. If it delays much longer, the detainee could complain or bring an action in court seeking relief from the delay.

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The answer to your question will depend upon whether the person is being detained subject to an "immigration hold" or is actually being held by ICE. If a person is being help by non-ICE authorities ICE must take custody of the person withing 72 business hours (i.e. non-weekends or federal holidays) of being notified they are ready for pickup. Keep in mind, however, that ICE does not necessarily need to physically move the detainee. They can keep the detainee at the same location upon agreement with the facility (ICE just pays the costs of detention from that point forward). If ICE does not assume custody withing 72 hours then the facility should release the detainee. On the other hand, if removal proceedings have been initiated depending upon why the detainee to be removalable, he may or may not be eligible for bond during the proceedings. The fact that a court date has not been set does not mean that ICE has not assumed custody or that proceedings have not yet been initiated with the Immigration Court. You should consult with a qualified immigration attorney who has experience in handling removal cases and bond issues to determine the exact status of the case and what can be done to secure the relase of the detainee.

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