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ICE Hold

Posted by Christopher Keen | May 02, 2020 | 0 Comments

KLO Blog Series 203

ICE Hold

My loved has been arrested and has an ICE Hold, what does that mean and what can I  expect?

Often times a family member or loved one who is a non-citizen in the United States gets arrested and placed in jail, and in addition to their criminal charges the jail or facility where they are incarcerated will also show that the individual has an “ICE Hold” or “ICE Detainer.” On a jail booking sheet in Utah County it will read:

An example of how an ICE hold appears for an inmate at the Salt Lake County Metro Jail is below:

When a family member has an ICE Hold and is in jail it is important to know what that means and what to do.

What is an ICE Hold or Detainer?

An ICE Hold, or immigration detainer, is a request byh Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to notify ICE 48 hours prior to releasing the individual.  When a cooperating detention facility places a new inmate through the booking process, the jail often contacts ICE when they suspect someone may not be a US Citizen.  At that time ICE will determine whether or not request a federal detainer. ICE uses these holds or detainers to communicate to jails that they want to investigate the incarcerated non-citizen once their period of incarceration has ended with the state. 

Who can get an ICE Hold?

Any non US Citizen who is booked and detained at a jail is at risk of getting a hold placed on them.  Sometimes an undocumented person does not get a hold placed on them, but most often, ICE will issue a hold and the jail will note that in the booking information.

  • The non-citizen is or suspected of being, undocumented or otherwise unlawfully present in the United States;
  • The non-citizen committed a crime or is alleged to have committed a crime that makes them deportable (removable) from the United States (even if you have a visa or green card);
  • The non-citizen has a prior or pending order of removal

When ICE places this federal detainer on the incarcerated non-citizen this means that ICE will usually hold the individual for 48 hours once released on their state charges.  ICE has this 48 hour window to determine whether or not to federally charge and/or detain the non-citizen. This means that even if the person pays the required state bail, jail overpopulation, or is released for having completed criminal proceedings, the person will usually be detained at the jail waiting for ICE to come and pick them up.  In many cases if there is a federal detainer ICE will take the non-citizen for booking and into custody.

Once in ICE custody, ICE will make a “custody determination” of whether to press federal charges and place the non-citizen in jail or release them on an immigration bond. If ICE determines not to give the non-citizen an immigration bond this means that the non-citizen will be charged in immigration court and that ICE plans to keep them in jail during immigration court.

After ICE makes this determination, the non-citizen may ask the immigration to be releases on an immigration bond. This means that non-citizens have two opportunities to be released from jail by immigration, released by ICE, or by the immigration court after ICE has determined not to release the non-citizen.

What happens with an ICE Hold or Detainer in Utah?

Typically when a non-citizen in the state of Utah has an ICE hold it will show up on their booking sheet. Once the state releases the non-citizen from jail, whether by payment of bail, jail over population, or the end of their criminal case, the jail will inform ICE and the 48 hour window for ICE to act opens. This means even though the non-citizen has been released by the state, the jail will continue to hold them. This is especially frustrating to individuals who pay the non-citizen's bail expecting them to be released and they are not. 

In Utah, if ICE decides to act, the non-citizen will be picked up by ICE. This typically happens early in the morning a day or two after the non-citizen is released from state custody. ICE will take the non-citizen to a local office in Salt Lake City, Orem, or Ogden and book them. The booking process involves fingerprinting and background checks, including questions directly to the non-citizen. ICE then uses that information to determine whether to file charges in immigration court and whether to continue to jail that person while immigration charges are pending before the immigration court.

In Utah, ICE has no federal facility in which to hold detained immigrants.  ICE has agreements with certain jails and at the time of this writing, stores a few inmates on short term at the Cache County Jail in Logan, Utah.

If ICE determines that the non-citizen remain in jail during the immigration court process the non-citizen will usually be sent to the Cache County Jail for a short time. Once the non-citizen is in jail in Cache County, ICE will generally have them moved to a longer term jail in either Denver, Las Vegas, or Seattle. While in jail at the Cache County jail or in Denver, Las Vegas, or Seattle, the non-citizen may request a bond hearing with the immigration court.

It is important to note that legal assistance may be offered at any stage in the process. Keen Law Offices has helped many citizens be released from custody by ICE and the immigration court.

The earlier you involve a lawyer, the better.

Call us during business hours at (801) 374-5336 or schedule a consultation online now!

About the Author

Christopher Keen

As the founding attorney for Keen Law Offices, LLC, J. Christopher Keen received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Brigham Young University. He then went on to receive his Juris Doctor degree from J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. Since that time, he has been admitted to practice before all of the state courts in Utah.


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