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Some additional insight on ICE detainers

A few weeks back, our blog took a closer look at the important issue of how long a person can be held by a law enforcement agency on an immigration detainer issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In today's post, we'll take a closer look at the issue of ICE detainers in an attempt to provide some much-needed clarification on a topic that has been proven to be highly controversial.

What is the underlying purpose of an ICE detainer?

According to ICE, there are actually three primary purposes for issuing a detainer:

  • Notify law enforcement officials of ICE's intent to assume custody of the person being held once they are no longer subject to detention.
  • Seek information from law enforcement officials about a person's impending release such that the necessary action can be coordinated.
  • Request that law enforcement officials hold the person otherwise eligible for release for a period not to exceed 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays).

Once the person is taken into custody by ICE, they will be taken to an immigration detention center and removal proceedings will be initiated.

What happens if ICE officials fail to assume custody of the person with the 48-hour timeframe?

To reiterate, in the event ICE fails to show up within the designated 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) timeframe, law enforcement officials must release the person from custody, as any failure to do so is unlawful.

What can a person do if they believe that they've been held beyond the 48-hour timeframe and/or believe that their civil rights have been violated by the immigration detainer?

ICE officials indicate that people who believe that they have been held beyond the 48-hour time window will need to discuss the matter of their release with the law enforcement officials keeping them in custody.

Those who believe that their civil rights have been violated by the immigration detainer or other DHS activities are urged to contact the ICE Joint Intake Center.

Here's hoping the following information proves helpful. In the meantime, if you or a loved one have any questions about immigration detention, consider speaking with a skilled and dedicated attorney as soon as possible.

Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, "ICE detainers: Frequently asked questions," Accessed Oct. 30, 2014

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