Detained by Immigration? What You Need to Know


Barbara Melendez

While talks
of immigration reform continue there is little spoken of the marked increased
number of detained foreign nationals by ICE- the Department of Homeland
Security’s (DHS)

enforcement arm.  
Congress’ expansion of the immigration detention system has created a
profitable market for both private prison corporations and local governments.

In fiscal year 2013 almost
244 state and county jails were contracted to house immigrant detainees on
behalf of ICE (nearly 70 percent of the detained immigrant population).
 Private correctional
corporations have gotten in on this boom as well.  These corporations have built facilities
strictly to house immigration detainees. Currently, ICE utilizes seven Contract
Detention Facilities (CDF). 

Considering this
reality below is a summary provided by ICE regarding ICE detainers.>>

Q: What is an immigration detainer?

An immigration detainer is a notice that DHS issues to federal, state and local
law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to inform the LEA that ICE intends to assume
custody of an individual in custody. An immigration detainer serves three key
functions: 1) to notify an LEA that ICE intends to assume custody of an alien
in the LEA's custody once the alien is no longer subject to the LEA's
detention; 2) to request information from an LEA about an alien's
release so ICE may assume custody before the alien is released from the LEA's
custody; and 3) to request that the LEA maintain custody of an alien who would
otherwise be released for a period not to exceed 48 hours (excluding Saturdays,
Sundays, and holidays) to provide ICE time to assume custody.

What happens if ICE does not assume custody of the individual after 48 hours?

does not assume custody after 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays), the
local law enforcement agency (LEA) is required to release the individual. The
LEA may not lawfully hold an individual beyond the 48-hour period.

What if the detainee believes that he or she has been held beyond the 48 hours,
or has a complaint?

A: The
Notice to the Detainee advises individuals that if ICE does not take them into
custody during the 48 hours, they should contact the LEA or entity that is
holding them to inquire about their release from state or local custody. If the
individual has a complaint regarding the detainer or violations of civil rights
or civil liberties connected to DHS activities he or she should contact the ICE
Joint Intake Center at 1-877-2INTAKE (877-246-8253).  If the detainee has an attorney the attorney
should pursue all further action to ensure the release of the detainee beyond
the 48 hr. window.

For the
full ICE- Question and Answer factsheet on detainers, go to link below:

ICE is
only going to increase the number of detained foreign nationals.  If someone is detained, depending on the
circumstances they may still have legal options available to them to stop the
removal process, qualify for legal permanent residency or other forms of
relief.  The government is not
necessarily going to provide you with a step-by-step of what legal recourse a detainee
may have available. It’s up to the detainee, his friends or family to figure
that out.  

The best way to make an
informed decision is to speak to a qualified attorney who can evaluate the
circumstance and provide legal counsel to determine what next steps they need
to pursue.  Contact Kuck Immigration Partners at 866-286-6200 or Barbara Melendez at bmelendez (at) immigration (dot) net.

Originally published on LawMarketing Blog. Reprinted with permission

About The Author Melendez is a partner at Kuck Immigration Partners, LLC. She brings with her vast experience in the area of immigration law. Prior to joining Kuck Immigration Partners, she was a shareholder at Kirton McConkie where she served as the section head for the firm’s Immigration Section. Her practice focuses primarily on immigration and employer/immigration compliance matters. She represents multi-national corporations, educational institutions, religious organizations and employers on all immigration related matters. Ms. Melendez represents clients on inter-company transfers, all temporary and permanent work visas, investment visas, including working with counsel around the world to help U.S. companies on cross-border employment issues.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.