When an immigrant enters the United States illegally or remains in the country after their Visa has expired, they can be arrested by the ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) agency. The arrest may occur as the result of several scenarios including workplace raids, traffic stops or encounters with Local Law Enforcement Agents (LEA). In most cases, ICE detains an immigrant in a local prison or detention center after the arrest but how long can ICE hold someone in these facilities?
For starters, the agency that makes the initial arrest is crucial. If the immigrant is picked up by LEA as the result of a routine traffic stop or a criminal investigation, they may be taken to a local jail. At this point, ICE will be contacted if an illegal immigration status is suspected. From there, LEA will place the immigrant on a hold for 48 hours. During this period, ICE is given the opportunity to come and pick up the immigrant from the local facility and transfer them to their own. If ICE does not arrive to pick up the immigrant, they will be released assuming there are no other pending criminal charges that require jail time.
If the immigrant is arrested directly by an ICE agent; however, they will be immediately taken to a contracted local prison or an ICE detention facility. From there, the agency will work to determine whether the immigrant is eligible for release on an immigration bond. If they are, the amount of bail will be set, and the immigrant can be released from detainment as soon as it is paid in full. Their immigration charges are not erased by paying this amount; however, and the case will continue to pend in court. By paying the bond, immigrants are simply able to return home to their families during this time. As immigration cases can take anywhere from several weeks to several years to conclude, it allows the immigrant to avoid long-term detainment so long as they abide by the terms of their bond and appear in court as directed.
When an immigrant is not eligible for release with an immigration bond, the answer to how long can ICE hold someone is less clear. If an immigrant has a previous deportation on their record or was caught in a border zone, they can be removed from the country immediately without having their case heard in court. In other cases, an immigrant may agree to a voluntary departure which would allow them to leave the country on their own without a recorded deportation on their record. This typically requires a “departure bond” and will allow the immigrant to leave the ICE hold and get their affairs in order before leaving the country within the amount of time specified by the agency.
When an immigrant who is not eligible for an immigration bond is not immediately deported and does not agree to a voluntary departure, they will ultimately remain within the ICE facility until their case is resolved. The amount of time it will take the case to conclude will depend upon many factors but may take several years. If you still have questions like, “how long can ICE hold someone?”, reach out to our knowledgeable experts at US Immigration Bonds today for help.