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What Does It Mean to Have an ICE/USDHS Hold in a Criminal Proceeding?


Having an ICE/USDHS hold in a criminal proceeding can be your worst nightmare if you are undocumented. It means that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or United States Department of Homeland Security (USDHS) has issued a Form I-247, Immigration Detainer-Notice of Action against you. This happens upon being arrested by a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency for criminal charges.

How Does This Happen?

When you are arrested by a law enforcement agency, you will go through the booking process, during which you will be fingerprinted and asked basic background questions, like where were you born. Once the officer has determined you were not born in the United States, you will be sent to be interviewed by one of the immigration jail officers. That immigration officer will confirm that that are not a United States citizen or legal permanent resident and will then place the ICE hold on you.

What Does an ICE hold do?

Once a law enforcement agency arrests you, the ICE hold allows the agency to keep you for up to 48 hours beyond the time that you would otherwise be released.

For example, if you have an ICE hold and have plead guilty to a DWI and received time served on a Wednesday, instead of being released that Wednesday, the agency will notify immigration that your criminal case has been closed and they will have until Friday (48 hours later) to come pick you up. On Friday, you will then be released to immigration and continue to be detained with that agency.

This hold also affects your ability to bond out. Since ICE holds are placed immediately, once you are given a criminal bond paying it will not result in your release. Some counties will either not accept the criminal bond or if they do accept it, they will then notify immigration and you will be released to them within 48 hours. Once you have the ICE hold, there is no escaping immigration.

What are the Pitfalls of Paying the Criminal Bond with an ICE Hold?

Sometimes families think that paying the criminal bond will result in their loved one being released that day. Normally, that would be correct if the person did not have an ICE hold. The problem with paying the criminal bond is that upon being sent to immigration, the criminal case will remain open. In the worst-case scenario, the undocumented defendant gets deported or signs a voluntary departure and the open criminal case will turn into a warrant. Therefore, if the undocumented individual ever decides to return to the United States and is stopped for a minor traffic offense, he or she will get arrested and go through the same process all over again. Also, the money that was paid for the criminal bond will be lost.

Prior to our current political climate, a person could have easily obtained a reasonable immigration bond and been out free fighting their criminal charges but now things are not that easy. Today, immigration attorneys will advise families to have the criminal charges disposed of first prior to reaching immigration. Also, now ICE holds are being placed on individuals for minor traffic offenses.

What Should You Do If You Get an ICE Hold?

First, contact an immigration attorney to determine if you have any immigration relief. How long you have been here, family ties, and the actual criminal charge will determine what will be your chances of getting an immigration bond. You will likely to pay 2 bonds, the criminal bond and an immigration bond.

Contact Our Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyers Today

The next most important step to take in case of an ICE hold on your account is to reach out to our firm, the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC. We are experienced, skilled, and compassionate Dallas criminal attorneys who understand the severe immigration consequences which may result from a criminal charge. Our legal team can help defend you against various crimes, and will fight vigorously to protect your legal rights.

To contact us at your earliest convenience, you may reach us 24/7 by calling (214) 238-9392 or visit our law office at 900 Jackson Street, Suite 635 Dallas, Texas 75202. Don’t wait before it is too late!

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