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What is an Immigration Detainer?

The ICE Hold

by Mitchell J. Cohen, Esquire

An immigration detainer (sometimes referred to as an “ICE detainer” or “ICE hold”) is a notice from the Department of Homeland Security that is given to a state or local law enforcement agency advising that agency that DHS intends to take custody of an incarcerated individual once he or she would otherwise be released.    The reasons for immigration to place a hold on someone are varied, however, usually it has to with DHS intending to remove (deport) that person from the United States.    An individual with an immigration detainer might be placed in removal proceedings or may in fact already have an outstanding order of removal.

If there is an detainer (a/k/a “ICE Hold”) on someone in jail, once that person posts bond on the criminal matter, the jail may continue to hold that person even though bond has already been posted.   Immigration in general has 48 hours then to pick up that person from jail.    That person now may be “processed” at an ICE facility, which may include being interrogated, fingerprinted, and photographed.    A Notice to Appear in Immigration Court may be served on the person being held.  ICE in some cases may release the person on his or her own recognizance or detain further in an immigration detention center or contact facility pending removal proceedings or execution of an outstanding order of removal (deportation).

The Immigration Detainer Automatically Expires After 48 Hours

The detainer only authorizes a law enforcement agency to keep an individual in jail for 48 hours (2 days), beyond the time that person should have been released (excluding weekends and holidays).   It is against the law for the state or local jail to hold a person beyond the 48 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays).   See the provisions listed on Form I-247 Immigration Detainer.


Attorney Mitchell J. Cohen

Attorney Mitchell J. Cohen

Mitchell J. Cohen, Esquire is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.  Cohen represents individuals in Immigration Court removal proceedings, and handles a variety of other types of immigration cases.

Immigration Law Offices in Hallandale Beach, and Fort Myers, Florida.   Call (954) 457-1941 (Hallandale Beach Office)

or (239) 931-6558 (Fort Myers Office).    Would You Like to Know More?