What is an Immigration Detainer?

An Immigration detainer is a request for the state to hold people without a valid court order. This is also referred to as an ICE detainer or immigration hold.

The State or Federal Government cannot hold a person, citizen or not, without a Judicial review. Only a judge or magistrate can then authorize the continued detention of a person.

This is fundamental to the American way of life, and a constitutional requirement.

All too many believe that this only applies to US citizens. All too many believe that if you speak with an accent or appear to be from a minority race, you are suspect and can be detained without a Court Order.


ICE and North Carolina Sheriff’s Offices

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) is a subdivision of the US Department of Homeland Security. ICE is tasked with enforcing federal immigration laws. Often, ICE immigration enforcement action occurs at the local county level in North Carolina. ICE asks local sheriff’s offices to determine an inmate’s immigration status, report such status to ICE, and hold the inmate until ICE can take custody.

Recently, the majority of NC Sheriff’s offices have stopped determining an inmates’ immigration status. They have ceased notifying ICE and holding the inmate longer than their State charges require.

Several North Carolina Sheriffs have questioned whether ICE detainers violate inmates’ Due Process rights. ICE immigration detainers often result in extensions of time that an inmate is in custody beyond the time an inmate was ordered to serve or be held on at the State level.

North Carolina House Bill 370

The North Carolina legislature recently proposed House Bill 370. HB 370 will require the Sheriff’s Offices to attempt to determine an inmate’s immigration status and report such status to ICE. The N.C. Sheriff’s Association has backed HB 370 despite push back from several of the larger county Sheriffs. The bill has not been passed into law but looks to become law soon.

Currently, several counties in North Carolina still hold inmates until ICE can take custody. And, they’ll even hold them after the resolution of the State charges. Other counties will not hold the inmates but will report to ICE when inmates with immigration issues are released. Inmates face possible deportation once they are transferred to ICE or their whereabouts are made known to ICE by local law enforcement.

Contact our Immigration Lawyers and Criminal Defense Team

If you or a loved one have immigration concerns and are facing charges at the State level then it is important that the case is handled correctly, and if at all possible, in such a way as to avoid being held in custody by local law enforcement and facing an Immigration detainer. Dummit Fradin has experienced criminal defense and immigration attorneys that work hand in hand to achieve the best possible outcome for each client and help keep families together. Contact us today.