An ICE hold is "not to exceed 48 hours"


An ICE hold is "not to exceed 48 hours"

You know how we’re innocent until proven guilty? Well, there’s also a federal law says that from the time a non-citizen’s bond is paid a jail can keep holding him (to wait for Immigration to come get him) for only 48 hours. 8 C.F.R. 287.7(d).

On Friday afternoon, 02/20/15, I called my local county jail.

“I need to send a fax to whomever is in charge,” I explained to the jailer. “It’s been more than 48 hours, so it’s illegal for the county to keep holding my client. Where should I send my fax?”

“You’re a lawyer,” the jailer said, derisively. “You should know where you can put your fax.”

Then he hung up on me.

Whaaaa—? Did he seriously just tell me to put my fax where the sun don’t shine?!

I then wrote and faxed an S.L.L. (Scary Lawyer Letter) to the chief of the jail. This was at 3:40pm. Government employees don’t answer their phones after 4pm, especially on a Friday. I didn’t expect anything to happen.

So I was surprised when, that evening at 8:30pm, my client called me to thank me. They let him out of jail. He was already back home with his family. My SLL worked!

Here’s a template you can use, based on my own SLL:

Reprinted with permission.

About The Author

William Henry Humble III

William Henry Humble III is an associate at Rodriguez & Moretzsohn, PLLC. He has devoted his legal career since 2002 almost exclusively to immigration work, representing clients nationally from coast to coast as well as internationally. He has worked with firms in Boston, New York City, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. He is a member of the California State Bar and licensed in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, and U.S. District Court for both the Northern District and the Southern District of Texas. He is a graduate of Oak Brook College of Law and Government Policy. Will is also fluent in Spanish. He can be reached by email at

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