Immigration Status and An Arrest

How an Immigration Hold may Affect your Criminal Case

The number of criminal defense matters that now involve some type of immigration issue have seen an increase in recent years.  If you have a criminal matter and need legal assistance, and you also anticipate immigration issues arising as well, it is important to discuss those issues with your criminal defense attorney early on.  Here are some things to consider.

What it means to be placed on an Immigration Hold

A common issue that arises in state law criminal defense matters involving foreign nationals is the immigration hold.  An immigration hold is placed on those who have been accused of a crime and held in jail.  When a foreign national is being held in state or federal custody, they will likely be placed on so-called “immigration hold.”  This hold instructs the jail to not release the person, but instead to transfer them to federal custody at the end of the jail term. When the Department of Homeland Security places this type of hold on someone, state law enforcement agencies are obligated to comply.

Return to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement

If you have been placed on immigration hold that means, after you go through the state court criminal proceedings, you will be placed in custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  This is true, regardless of whether you are convicted, acquitted, or the case is dismissed.  ICE is the part of the federal government which handles immigration enforcement. Once in their custody, you could be tried by an immigration court and involuntarily deported.  Depending on the circumstances, you could be voluntarily deported or permitted to stay in the United States.

The primary reasons for immigration holds

There are three common reasons foreign nationals who find themselves in jail might be placed on immigration hold. If you are undocumented (or suspected of being undocumented) or otherwise illegally present in the U.S. you may be placed on hold.  If you have committed a crime that would make you deportable from the United States you may be placed on hold, even if you have a visa.  Another common reason is having a prior or pending order of removal on your immigration record.

If you have questions regarding immigration holds, or any other criminal defense matters, please contact Ketcham Law for a consultation by calling us at (205) 296

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