Immigration Detention: Top Three Things You Should Know

Immigration Detention: Top Three Things You Should Know

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Immigration detention is a process where a foreign national is arrested by ICE and held against his/her will. Currently, ICE is detaining approximately 49,000 immigrants, according to The Washington Post. The main purpose of the detention is to ensure an immigrant’s appearance before The Immigration Court. ICE detains immigrants that are considered to be a “flight risk”, meaning they can move to another location and fail to show up to court.

Who can be detained by ICE?

There are numerous reasons why a foreign nation can be detained. For example, ICE might detain an immigrant if:

  • (S)he is found to be present in the U.S. illegally
  • Has committed a crime while in the U.S., or
  • Believed to pose a public threat

Other reasons include illegal entry and/or attempt to cross the border without a visa or other legal status, an outstanding removal order on record, and missed prior immigration or criminal hearing dates.

Immigration bond for detainees

A detained immigrant might be held in a detention facility for months waiting for a hearing before an immigration judge. However, there is a possibility of getting out of the detention center.

In certain cases, it is possible to be released from the detention facility by paying a “bond”. In immigration law, a “bond” is similar to “bail” in the criminal courts. It is an amount of money paid to ICE to guarantee a person’s appearance in court. If the detainee shows up for all court hearings and obeys whatever order a judge issues, the money will be returned to him/her. If the detainee flees, the money will be forfeited.  The bond is usually set by ICE or by an Immigration Judge at a “bond hearing.” Keep in mind that not all detainees are eligible for a bond. So, the first thing to do is to inquire whether a detained individual is eligible for bond, and then to find out whether ICE has set the bond. The bond amount can vary anywhere from $1,500 to $20,000 or more.

Your rights if you are taken into Immigration Custody

Lastly, it is important to know your legal rights if you are being stopped for questioning, arrested and taken into ICE custody.

  • You have the right to remain silent, which means you do not have to answer questions, as long as you state so out loud to an officer.
  • You do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings. If an ICE officer suspects that you might have a weapon, you can be “pat down” by the officer. No further search should be legally administrated without your consent.
  • If you are being arrested, you have the right to a lawyer. It is strongly recommended to contact your lawyer immediately.
  • You also have the right to make a local phone call.
  • Remember, you do not have to answer any questions or sign any papers before you consult with your attorney.

Having a friend or family member in ICE custody is a stressful and overwhelming situation. If your loved one was placed in detention and is facing deportation, it is best to get an immigration lawyer involved as soon as possible. Call us at (323) 456-7600 to schedule a free in-office consultation with our experienced immigration attorneys specializing in deportation and removal defense.