The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, better known as ICE, is responsible for enforcing the country’s strict immigration and customs laws. When the agency identifies an illegal immigrant, they will take them into their custody to further investigate their status and bring forth charges. In many cases, immigrants are identified through means like traffic stops, workplace raids, or arrests made by local law enforcement officials. Regardless of how the initial arrest is made, one of the first questions loved one’s have is, “how long can ICE hold an immigrant?”.
Generally speaking, arrests made by ICE happen without warning. This means that there is no time beforehand for immigrants to speak with loved ones, contact their employers, or even plan for childcare. Their sporadic absence can cause a lot of stress for everyone involved, and having an idea of how long they will be detained can be helpful.
Unfortunately, there is no specific time frame by which ICE must release a detained immigrant once they are in their custody. Those who are arrested by local law enforcement agents; however, can only be detained for a period of 48 hours beyond their served time. During this timeframe, local law enforcement agents will hold the immigrant while they await the arrival of an ICE agent to take the immigrant into custody. If ICE does not take custody of the immigrant at this point, they will be released.
When an immigrant is arrested directly by ICE, this 48-hour hold does not apply. Instead, they are taken directly to a local contracted prison or ICE facility. Shortly after arrival, ICE will determine if the immigrant is eligible for release through an immigration bond. If so, ICE will set the amount of the bond. Afterwards, an immigration bond sponsor can schedule an appointment at their local ICE facility to pay the bond. Once it is paid, the immigrant will typically be released the same day. When the cost of the bond is too much for the immigrant’s family or loved ones to pay in cash, they may opt to secure a bond through an immigration bond agent or service. This route also ensures the release of the immigrant, although the company will work with ICE to arrange their release instead. It is important to note that paying the bond through either means does not affect the outcome of the immigration case. It simply ensures that they can return home while their case is pending in court, so long as they cooperate with the terms of their bond.
In some cases, immigrants will be deemed ineligible for release through a bond. This is usually the case when there is an extensive criminal history or when the immigrant is viewed as a threat to national security or the public. These immigrants will be held in mandatory detention until an immigration judge makes a ruling in their case. The length of time for a case to conclude can vary greatly, but typically ranges from a few months to over a year.
Have questions about how long ICE can hold an immigrant or want to learn more about immigration bond releases? Contact us today to see how we can help.