ICE Detainers, or ICE Holds as they are commonly known, are requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued to a detention facility of another juridiction. Commonly a person detained in state custody for violation of a criminal statute will have an ICE hold issued. Although it is not mandatory, an ICE Hold requests that the detaining body hold the immigrant for a period of up to 48 hours in order for ICE to transfer the person into its custody and begin removal proceedings.
ICE Holds are almost always respected by detaining bodies and will be the start of removal proceedings. Once transferred to ICE custody, an officer will interview the person detained in order to determine if the person is a citizen or national of the United States and whether the person has lawful immigration status or not. If the officer finds that the person is in lawful immigration status the officer determines if the crime committed is one that makes the person removable. If so a notice to appear is issued and proceedings will begin under INA section 237. If the officer determines that the person is unlawfully in the United States a notice to apepar will be issued and proceedings will begin under INA section 212.
After a notice to appear is issued the person will be scheduled to see an immigration judge and removal proceedings will begin. Removal proceedings is the generic term used for both proceedings under INA 212 (formerly called exclusion proceedings) and INA 237 (formerly called deportation proceedings). In both cases a Respondent may be eligible for a bond and such proceedings may continue from outside of the detention center. The interviewing ICE office may make an initial bond determination and if the Respondent pays the bond he/she will be released from custody.
If the ICE officer determines that the Respondent is ineligible for bond or sets a bond that is too high, the Respondent has the right to ask a judge to redetermine bond. At a bond hearing the immigration judge will determine whether the Respondent is a flight risk and whether the Respondent is a danger to the community. The judge will also look at factors that may make the Respondent subject to mandatory detention. At the conclusion of bond proceedings the Immigration judge may lower the bond, leave the bond the same, or raise the bond. A person may only have one bond hearing, even hiring an attorney after the fact will not make it possible for the judge to do a second review of bond unless there have been changed circumstances.
ICE Holds are a traumatic experience and lead to prolonged separation from family and friends. This is only the beginning of removal proceedings and it does not mean that a person will automatically be removed from the United States. Seek the advise of a competent immigration attorney to develop the best defense possible and protect your rights.