An immigration hold occurs when an undocumented immigrant is held in jail past their originally scheduled release date. This occurs for the purpose of transferring them to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), usually for the purpose of deciding their deportation from the country. An immigration hold (also called an immigration detention) typically occurs with persons who are undocumented, although they can also occur for persons with valid green cards (for instance, if they have committed a crime of moral turpitude or other crime that can lead to removal).

Where Do Immigration Holds Take Place?

Immigration holds take place in an ICE detention center, which is located in a different facility from the ordinary jail. The facility can often be located in an entirely different state from where the person was originally heard in jail.

Thus, it can sometimes be difficult for a person to find a loved one or relative who is being held in an immigration hold. In addition, the person can sometimes be relocated to a different holding facility, often without notice. Thus, it may sometimes be necessary to work with an immigration attorney to help locate and assist a person under an immigration hold.

How Long Does the Hold Last?

Immigration holds are supposed to last no longer than 48 hours. If the hold occurs for longer than 48 hours, it may be possible to challenge the person’s removal case. In some cases, it may be possible to file a lawsuit for unlawful detention.

What Happens After an Immigration Hold?

After an immigration hold, the detainee may have a right to a few immigration hearings before a judge. The first short hearing is usually to cover the release bond and to schedule the next hearing. The second hearing is where the person can argue the merits of their case (for instance, they might argue that they have a green card and that the crime is not serious enough to warrant a removal from the country).

These hearings might not be available if the person already had an outstanding removal order when originally detained.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance with an Immigration Hold?

Immigration holds can often be complex as it may be difficult to even locate the person to begin with. Once the hearings are underway, legal representation may be needed to fully argue the person’s case. Thus, you may need to hire an immigration lawyer in your area if your loved one is subject to an immigration hold or hearing. Your attorney can provide legal advice and representation and can help argue the case before the immigration judge.