How to Help Your Loved One in an Immigration Hold


In 2019 alone, the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested more than 143,000 people. The agency deported more than 267,000.

If your loved one was in jail and placed in an immigration hold, you want to get them out as soon as possible. You don’t want your loved one to become another deportation statistic.

But what is an immigration hold? How can you help a loved one who has been placed in one? Continue reading to find out.

What Is an Immigration Hold?

An immigration hold applies to people who are already in jail. They remain in prison past their release date while awaiting transportation to an ICE detention center.

ICE is the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They handle issues about foreign nationals, including illegal aliens and green card holders.

When incarcerated for a criminal offense, it’s common for citizenship status to be ran. If issues arise, ICE might become involved.

When the inmate would usually receive release, they can continue being held for ICE up to 48 hours. Technically, if ICE doesn’t show up to take over custody of the inmate within that time frame, the inmate can argue for release. This doesn’t always work, however.

What Happens After an Immigration Hold Is Placed?

After an immigration hold is placed, an ICE officer will usually come to the jail within two days. They will take over custody of the detainee and transfer them to an ICE detention center.

Immigration detention centers are separate from regular jails. A person detained by ICE can end up transferring far away. Many times, the detainee transfers out of state because that’s the location of the nearest detention center.

Once in custody of ICE, a detained immigrant has the right to be released on an immigration bond. Not everyone will be eligible to receive an immigration bond. There will be a hearing to determine eligibility.

How to Get an Immigration Bond

An immigration bond is a detainee’s only chance of release before their hearing. The detainee can’t get the immigration bond, so a friend or loved one who meets specific qualifications must obtain a bond for them.

The person getting the bond for the detainee must be an American citizen. This includes lawful permanent citizens or green card holders. It doesn’t include anyone with a work or travel visa.

To get an immigration bond for your loved one, you need to work with a bondsman. Be sure you find a bondsman who works specifically with immigration bonds and not only criminal bonds. These are two very different things.

Immigration Bond Options

There are four types of immigration bonds available, but only two are widely used. The other two bond types apply to particular cases. One is for those with an active deportation order, and the other is for those who have unlawfully used government assistance.

The most common immigration bond is a delivery bond. With a delivery bond, a detainee may leave ICE custody until their court date. A bail amount will need to be paid, and a contract outlining bond conditions will need signing.

Bond conditions vary based on unique situations. A common requirement is regular check-ins. A person may also need to stay employed, avoid illegal substances, and stay within the state where they live.

The second most common option is a voluntary departure bond. This requires the detainee to leave the country voluntarily within a specified time frame. The detainee will be responsible for the financial costs of their departure.

Payment Options

There are two standard payment options when trying to receive an immigration bond. The best option is to pay the bail amount in full. This money will be refunded once the person has either left the country or attended their court date.

Few people have enough money to pay full bail costs. That’s why there is a second option of working with an immigration bondsman to receive a surety bond.

A surety bond requires you to pay a percentage of the full bail amount upfront. If you have no cash, collateral is sometimes allowed. This depends on the individual bondsman you’re working with.

The bondsman fronts the rest of the bail amount so your loved one can receive the release. If the person follows through on their bond conditions, the rest of the bail money is never paid. If they don’t follow through, the amount of money paid by the bondsman comes due.

What You Should Do After Receiving an Immigration Bond

Once your loved one has received their immigration bond, there are two things that you should do. Most importantly, all bond conditions should be met.

If check-ins are required, for example, make sure they get done with consistency. Otherwise, they’ll be arrested and placed back into custody.

The second thing a person should do is consult with an immigration lawyer. These immigration experts can help you understand your rights and decide what your next steps should be.

Reasons for Automatic Deportation

There are generally only two reasons for automatic legal deportation. If a deportation order already exists before the arrest, ICE has the right to deport them as soon as they’re in custody. At that point, the detainee has no more rights to a trial.

The second reason is when an illegal alien or green card holder commits a crime allowing the person to be deported. Generally, this only applies to violent crimes and treason.

Do You Have More Questions About Immigration Holds?

An immigration hold is when an incarcerated person remains in prison past their release date. This is so ICE can take them into custody. You can help someone in an immigration hold by getting a bond that secures their temporary release.

Do you have more questions about immigration holds? Or, do you still have questions about how to help a loved one placed in an immigration hold?

Check out our other blog posts. You’ll find a wealth of information on related topics.

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