What is an immigration detainer?

An immigration detainer is the way that the Department of Homeland Security notifies state or local law enforcement that DHS believes someone in the custody of the law enforcement agency may be subject to deportation from the U.S.  The detainer is an actual form (Form I-247) used by ICE.  According to the regulations:

A detainer serves to advise another law enforcement agency that ICE seeks custody of an alien presently in the custody of that agency, for the purpose of arresting and removing the alien.  The detainer is a request that such agency advise ICE, prior to release of the alien, in order for ICE to arrange to assume custody, in situation when gaining immediate physical custody is either impractacable or impossible.

The process usually works like this.  An alien or suspected alien comes into contact with local police.  After the person is taken to jail, they are asked for their place of birth.  If they were born overseas, the police notify ICE that an alien has been taken into custody.  ICE then makes determination, either by checking records or by speaking with the alien, as to whether the person entered without inspection (EWI) or is removable for some other reason and then sends the detainer form to the police agency.

An ICE detainer is supposed to last no longer than 48 hours.  Many state and local law enforcement officials are happy to hold aliens beyond the 48 hour limit.  This is wrong and illegal and the law enforcement agency should not be allowed to do it.  In certain circumstances, it might make sense to file a habeas corpus petition or false imprisonment lawsuit against the law enforcement agency when the hold last well beyond the 48 hour limit.

If you have questions about deportation or have a loved one who is subject to an immigration detainer, please call the immigration and deportation attorneys at Hacking Immigration Law, LLC to help.  You can reach us at (314) 961-8200 or visit our contact page here.