ICE has issued an important update to its policy on ICE holds/detainers that will affect hundreds of non-citizens in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area. Below is a summary of arrestees that are subject to ICE holds.
Who is subject to ICE holds/detainers?
On December 21, 2012, ICE Director John Morton issued a memorandum providing new guidance to ICE officers on when to issue detainers against non-citizens charged with crimes.
The list of persons subject to ICE holds is still lengthy. It includes:
- persons charged with felonies
- persons with three or more prior misdemeanor convictions
- persons charged with assault, DWI, unlawful flight from the scene of an accident
- drug distribution or trafficking
- sexual abuse of exploitation
In addition, an ICE hold can only be placed on a person who appears subject to removal or deportation. There are others who may be subject to ICE holds, including persons who have been previously deported or convicted of illegal entry.
There are, however, some notable exceptions to the list of persons subject to ICE holds.
Notable exceptions: Persons not subject to ICE detainers
First, ICE may not place holds or detainers on persons charged with minor misdemeanors or traffic violations, as long as they have a clean immigration history. Thus, a person arrested for littering, with no previous deportation order, is not subject to an ICE hold.
Second, a person charged with misdemeanor drug possession, with no allegation of distribution or trafficking, is also not subject to an ICE detainer. This category will include thousands of non-citizens charged every day for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
What to do if your relative has an ICE hold
Your best bet is to immediately consult with an immigration attorney to find out your options. The recent ICE memorandum clarifies that ICE detainers may be lifted as a matter of prosecutorial discretion, on a case-by-case basis. That means that, in some cases, aggressive, early intervention by an experienced immigration lawyer can prevent a loved one from being transferred to ICE custody and placed in removal proceedings.
If your relative is in Lew Sterrett Jail or Euless County Jail, and may have an ICE hold, contact a Dallas immigration law firm like The Vinesh Patel Law Firm. Our lawyers are available at any time to assist non-citizens charged with a range of criminal offenses. Call us at (855) 278-2943 for help.