What is an Immigration Detainer?
In many circumstances, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not know the location of a migrant they are looking to place into the deportation system. However, if a person who can be deported from US soil enters the jail or prison system, their name is recorded and available to ICE. If ICE wants to apprehend that individual, ICE can make a request for an immigration detainer.
An immigration detainer allows for a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency to hold the individual for another 48 hours, even if that person is no longer facing any criminal charges. Whether the law enforcement agency complies with the request is up to them, as the ICE request for a detainer is not strictly mandatory. The reason for the detainer is to hold the individual while ICE works out whether they should place the person in custody in order to deport them. As such, these individuals are forced to remain in jail even if no charges are pending against them.
ICE Detainer Requests
The detainer is not just for undocumented migrants. All non-US citizens can be held due to a detainer as long as there is justification for their removal. It is important to note that not all law enforcement agencies/jurisdictions comply with ICE detainer requests for a variety of reasons. However, if the local agency does accept the request and after 48 hours ICE does not take the individual into its custody, the local agency must release the individual. When individuals have been placed under detainers, the action has also affected their chances for bail and overall length of detention. It is incredibly important that those held in jail have access to a lawyer as every hour counts.