I am a noncitizen, and I am told I have an outstanding detainer against me. What is a detainer? What could happen to me?

An ICE detainer is a written request by immigration officials to a local jail or other law enforcement agency that the agency detain an individual for an additional 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) after his or her release date so that ICE officials can decide whether to take the individual into federal custody and begin formal deportation proceedings.

A “detainer”—or “immigration hold”—is one of the key tools U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) uses to apprehend individuals who come in contact with local and state law enforcement agencies and put them into the federal immigration, and often times, deportation system.

Even if you have a detainer against you, the USPC may still grant you release onto federal parole if you meet the other criteria in 28 C.F.R. § 2.18. The presence of a detainer is not in itself a valid reason for the denial of parole.[3464]

When a State or local detainer is outstanding against a prisoner whom the USPC wishes to parole, the Commission may order either of the following:

    In this event, you can only be released to agency that put the detainer on you. When such a detainer is removed, you can’t be released unless the Commission makes a new order of parole; OR
    If you have an acceptable plan for community supervision, you can be released into the community if the detaining officials remove the detainer or don’t pick you up[3465]

For more information on the immigration consequences of a criminal records and a discussion of record cleaning options see PG. 1122 later in this chapter.

  1. 3464

    28 C.F.R. § 2.31.

  2. 3465

    28 C.F.R. § 2.32.