During the seemingly endless discussion of sanctuary jurisdictions in the U.S., much has been discussed surrounding what are called ICE holds or immigration detainers, and what that term of art actually means. If you or a loved one are the subject of an ICE hold, it is critical to understand what options you have in terms of negotiating release from it.
Immigration and the Criminal Justice System
Under the current federal administration, Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) has, in many eyes, become an arm of the criminal justice system, instead of its own separate entity. Certainly this synergy is shown when discussing deportation requests—one main cog of the deportation machine is when local police forces are requested to detain immigrants. ICE obtains information about immigrants, both documented and undocumented, through a variety of programs that funnel data about non-citizens to them.
It is these initiatives such as the 287(g) program that give ICE information they need about individuals in custody of any given police system. When they see a non-citizen they suspect of being present in the country without inspection (an undocumented person, in other words) in custody, ICE can contact the police force and ask them to hold that person, oftentimes for longer than they might normally. This is referred to as an immigration detainer or ICE hold. In sanctuary cities such as Chicago, these detainers are not generally honored by police because they are strictly optional. In other cities, they will usually be honored.
What Can I Do?
If you are picked up, ICE holds in theory only last 48 hours; however, this deadline is often ignored, especially if you are moved to an immigration detention center. By far the best advice possible for someone who is detained is to get an attorney, quickly. Depending on your status, ICE may be able to deport you with no hearing. A procedure called expedited removal, once only usable on those found within 100 miles of a U.S. border, is now being used everywhere in the country. This administration has said that those who can prove two years’ presence will not be removed. However, if you are unable to, you may be in real danger.
Whether or not an attorney can be engaged, one important thing you or a loved one can do is pay any bail that might be owing as fast as possible. A criminal bond and an ICE bond are not the same, and if you are transferred to ICE custody while still being charged with a crime under standard U.S. criminal law, you may wind up having to pay two bonds. The immediate objective should be to get out of detention and consult a legal expert about how best to proceed, and being stuck having to bond out of custody twice may simply not be possible in monetary terms.
Seek Experienced Immigration Assistance
An immigration attorney on your side greatly increases your chances of navigating your way out of an immigration detainer, at least until you can plan how best to proceed. The dedicated Chicago deportation defense attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC have experience in these cases and will fight for you to receive your fair day in court. Call us today to set up a free consultation.
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