Please Note: This post was published in May 2015 and may not contain current information.
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What is an ICE hold?
“ICE HOLD.” If you are not a U.S. citizen, this is probably the scariest thing to see on your arrest paperwork. However, with the right information, you can know the best way to handle an ICE hold following arrest for a criminal incident.
Basically, after you have been arrested by a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency (LEA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has the authority to issue a Form I-247, Immigration Detainer- Notice of Action, better known as an “ICE Hold.” An ICE hold serves as notice to the LEA that ICE wants to take you into custody when the LEA is ready to release you.
So, for example, if you were arrested for a simple assault by the local police, and an ICE hold is issued, the local police will know that ICE wants to take you into custody once the local police are ready to release you.
What does an ICE hold do?
Aside from notifying the LEA that ICE wants to take custody of you, the ICE hold allows the LEA to keep you in custody for up to 48 hours beyond the time they would otherwise have to let you go. The 48 hour ICE hold gives ICE time to make arrangements to pick you up from the LEA detention facility. The 48 hours does not include Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
Let’s examine what happens if your criminal bond for a simple assault arrest is set at $10,000 and your family pays the bond for you. Without an ICE hold, the police would normally have to release you at that point. However, with an ICE hold, the police can keep you in jail for up to 48 hours after your criminal bond is paid (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays), under authority of the ICE hold.
What if the 48 hours have passed and ICE has not come to get me?
If the 48 hours have passed and there is no other legal reason for you to be held in jail, the police must release you. They cannot wait more than 48 hours for ICE to come pick you up. If you think the police are holding you beyond the legal 48 hour limit, you or your family should inquire with the LEA detaining you about release. If you have contacted an immigration attorney, you should ask your attorney to call the LEA and push them to release you.
If there has been a violation of the 48 hour rule, you should contact the ICE Joint Intake Center at 1-877-2INTAKE (877-246-8253).
What should I do if I get arrested and have an ICE hold?
First, if you are arrested and get an ICE hold, your family should contact a reliable immigration lawyer. An immigration lawyer can tell you whether you should go ahead and pay your criminal bond so you can be transferred to ICE, or if you should wait.
Second, you should tell your family that you have an ICE hold, and that the police can keep you for up to 48 hours even after your criminal bond is paid or charges are dropped. You should make sure your family knows that, under the ICE hold, you will be transferred to ICE custody, and you will not be immediately released by the LEA.
Third, you need to remember that a criminal bond and an ICE bond are not the same thing. Let’s go back to the example. If your family pays the $10,000 criminal bond, you will normally be transferred to ICE under the authority of the ICE hold within 48 hours. Once you are in ICE custody, an ICE officer will decide if you can be given an ICE bond, and if so, how much it will be. If ICE sets a bond for you, this is a different bond than the criminal bond, and someone will have to pay the ICE bond in order for you to be released from ICE custody.
Fourth, you should know that if ICE sets you a bond that is too high for you or someone else to pay, most of the time you can have a hearing before an Immigration Judge and ask him or her to lower the bond.
However, sometimes the law will not allow ICE or an immigration judge to give you an immigration bond. This is what the law calls “mandatory detention.” Click here to learn more about mandatory detention.