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How Can an Immigration Hold Get Removed or Lifted?



An immigration hold (also known as an immigration detainer) occurs when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) notifies a jail or prison that an inmate must be transferred to immigration detention once his or her sentence is complete. Inmates who are subject to deportation or removal upon completion of their criminal sentence are subject to immigration detainer.

An immigration detainer may be placed on an inmate who's suspected of being an illegal alien, on permanent residents who get into serious legal trouble and on naturalized citizens who commit crimes of moral turpitude.

Removing an Immigration Hold

If you or someone you love is incarcerated and has an immigration hold, then you need to hire a criminal defense attorney who has experience with immigration matters, or a criminal defense lawyer and an immigration attorney who will work hand-in-hand in an effort to get the hold lifted. Getting the hold removed is difficult, but not impossible.

In some instances, inmates may be released despite an immigration detainer. When local law enforcement receives an immigration hold, it must notify ICE before releasing an inmate. If ICE doesn't assume custody of the inmate within 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays), then law enforcement must release the individual. If the inmate isn't released after 48 hours, then an immigration attorney or criminal defense lawyer should file a writ of habeas corpus (document claiming the imprisonment is illegal) with the court.

If the prisoner is a victim of a crime or a U.S. citizen, then the inmate's attorney can notify the ICE Law Enforcement Support Center in an effort to get the hold removed.

Visit LawyerLocator to learn more about immigration law or to locate an immigration lawyer in your area.