It’s scary to get woken up in the middle of the night by a phone call from a relative telling you they are in jail. What can be even more heartbreaking is when this individual has an immigration hold placed on them. You might be wondering what this means and how you can help. Let’s review what an immigration hold is, why they happen, and how you can help. The Basics When an individual is in jail and is an undocumented alien, ICE can place a hold on them instead of releasing them at the end of their jail sentence. This hold is also called an immigration detainer, and it means that within 48 hours from the start of the hold, ICE will pick up the individual and bring them to a different facility. Why Are Holds Used? It’s fairly routine for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to do routine background checks on individuals who are currently held in jail. Given that one of the grounds for deportation can include committing a crime, ICE attempts to utilize jail time as a method for locating and deporting undocumented individuals. What an Immigration Hold Entails A person with an immigration hold placed on them will get picked up from jail by an ICE officer and transported to a detention facility. It’s not unusual for people to be transferred between multiple facilities, and this can happen day after day, making it hard to track down your loved ones. The immigration detainer is the first step in the deportation process. While a person is detained, they will be scheduled for a hearing and might have the option to be released on a bond. How Do You Get Through This Time? If your friend or family member is under an immigration hold and you aren’t sure what to do, the first step is to contact an experienced immigration attorney. You can also make phone calls to figure out where your relative has been taken, but as mentioned previously, ICE frequently moves individuals around and you might find yourself constantly trying to find out where they are held. Ultimately, working with an attorney is your best bet in getting a person released from the hold and fighting the deportation process. Because laws change frequently and the processes can be complex, make sure to have someone on your side. Has one of your friends or a loved one been detained by ICE? If so, contact Landerholm Immigration today to get started toward the process of getting him or her back home.