The current administration has left the subject of immigration in a state of flux, with many illegal immigrants, including so-called “Dreamers,” fearful of what could come. If you have a family member who was arrested, and now has an ICE hold, you may be wondering what you should do next, and how you can help. It is important that you contact a Houston immigration lawyer as soon as possible—immigration cases have always been complex, now more than ever. Having an experienced Houston immigration attorney by your side will ensure that everything that can possibly be done for your family member will be done in quickest manner possible.
What is an ICE Hold?
Any time a non-citizen is arrested by local law enforcement, a bond will likely be set, as usual, but when a relative goes to pay the bond, they may be told their family member cannot be released due to an “ICE” hold (ICE being the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement). The Immigration and Customs Enforcement will ask the local law enforcement agency to notify ICE in advance of a scheduled release of the person, and to hold the person for an additional 48 hours so that ICE officials can take the person into custody when their criminal custody has concluded. If the person has sufficient funds or assets to allow them to bond out of jail, they will be transferred to ICE custody, and will be required to pursue a bond through Immigration Court.
In the same vein, if the person served a jail sentence, at the end of that jail term, he or she would immediately be transferred to ICE custody. In other words, there are two distinct issues here, with two distinct determinations. It is also important to remember that if a non-citizen family member is arrested, and there is no ICE hold, that does not mean it is not in the works. ICE can come in at any time while the family member is detained and put a hold on the family member.
How Does ICE Know About the Arrest?
You may be wondering just how U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement could possibly be aware of every non-citizen arrest across the nation. When a non-citizen is taken into local custody, his or her fingerprints will be taken, and run through a federal database. If ICE believes the person is subject to removal from the United States, a detainer could be filed with the local law enforcement agency. Remember, an ICE hold is not an order of removal. It just means that the person will be transferred to ICE custody for the commencement of removal proceedings.
What to Do About an ICE Hold
While each case has its own specific set of facts—therefore its own specific manner of dealing with the ICE hold—it is likely you will be required to pay an immigration bond. An immigration bond is significantly more expensive than a “normal” bond, and you are not allowed to pay 10% of the bond. Usually, the minimum amount of an immigration bond is $1,500, which must be paid by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
A Houston immigration attorney who understands how immigration laws treat criminal matters can help you to decide the best way to proceed.