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Detained by Immigration? What You Need to Know

While talks of immigration reform continue there is little spoken of the marked increased number of detained foreign nationals by ICE- the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS)
enforcement arm.   Congress’ expansion of the immigration detention system has created a profitable market for both private prison corporations and local governments.  

In fiscal year 2013 almost 244 state and county jails were contracted to house immigrant detainees on behalf of ICE (nearly 70 percent of the detained immigrant population).  Private correctional corporations have gotten in on this boom as well.  These corporations have built facilities strictly to house immigration detainees. Currently, ICE utilizes seven Contract Detention Facilities (CDF). 

Considering this reality below is a summary provided by ICE regarding ICE detainers.

Q: What is an immigration detainer?

A: An immigration detainer is a notice that DHS issues to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to inform the LEA that ICE intends to assume custody of an individual in custody. An immigration detainer serves three key functions: 1) to notify an LEA that ICE intends to assume custody of an alien in the LEA’s custody once the alien is no longer subject to the LEA’s detention; 2) to request information from an LEA about an alien’simpending release so ICE may assume custody before the alien is released from the LEA’s custody; and 3) to request that the LEA maintain custody of an alien who would otherwise be released for a period not to exceed 48 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) to provide ICE time to assume custody.

Q: What happens if ICE does not assume custody of the individual after 48 hours?hours? 

A: If ICE does not assume custody after 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays), the local law enforcement agency (LEA) is required to release the individual. The LEA may not lawfully hold an individual beyond the 48-hour period.

Q: What if the detainee believes that he or she has been held beyond the 48 hours, or has a complaint? 

A: The Notice to the Detainee advises individuals that if ICE does not take them into custody during the 48 hours, they should contact the LEA or entity that is holding them to inquire about their release from state or local custody. If the individual has a complaint regarding the detainer or violations of civil rights or civil liberties connected to DHS activities he or she should contact the ICE Joint Intake Center at 1-877-2INTAKE (877-246-8253).  If the detainee has an attorney the attorney should pursue all further action to ensure the release of the detainee beyond the 48 hr. window. 

For the full ICE- Question and Answer factsheet on detainers, go to link below:

ICE is only going to increase the number of detained foreign nationals.  If someone is detained, depending on the circumstances they may still have legal options available to them to stop the removal process, qualify for legal permanent residency or other forms of relief.  The government is not necessarily going to provide you with a step-by-step of what legal recourse a detainee may have available. It’s up to the detainee, his friends or family to figure that out.  

The best way to make an informed decision is to speak to a qualified attorney who can evaluate the circumstance and provide legal counsel to determine what next steps they need to pursue.  Contact Kuck Immigration Partners at 866-286-6200.