DC Mandatory Detention Lawyer

Mandatory detention is a term used in immigration law when an individual is detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and is not eligible for a bond. It means that during the immigration proceedings, they will not be eligible to leave detention and will, therefore, have to undergo the entire proceedings in front of the immigration court from jail. To learn more about mandatory detention and what it could mean for you, call and schedule a consultation with a DC immigration lawyer today. An experienced DC mandatory detention lawyer with our firm can assist in preparing you for what to expect and discuss the various legal options at your disposal.

When Mandatory Detention Applies

Mandatory detention applies to people who are in removal proceedings, which is another term for in deportation proceedings, and who fall under one of the enumerated grounds of mandatory detention.  The grounds of mandatory detention include both elements of the grounds of inadmissibility that are found in section 212(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and also section 237 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which covers aggravated felonies and offenses that trigger deportability or removability.

There is a broad list of crimes and conduct that can render a person subject to mandatory detention.  For instance, you’ll be subject if you have multiple convictions where the aggregate sentence is 5 years or more of imprisonment. Also, most controlled substance offenses, some prostitution-related offenses, terrorist activity, human trafficking, and money laundering offenses can also make you subject to mandatory detention. You’ll also be subject to it if you have convictions for two or more crimes that involve moral turpitude, any aggravated felony, any firearm offense or drug abuse or addiction or espionage, sabotage or treason making it important that a DC mandatory detention attorney is consulted.

Bond Hearings in Detention Cases

Generally, being subject to mandatory detention means that the person is not eligible for a bond. However, there are some minor exceptions to this.

There’s one type of hearing called a Joseph Hearing. The name comes from a Board of Immigration Appeals case (pdf) that was decided in 1999, and it allows you to request a hearing that is specifically targeted towards arguing that your criminal offense should not subject you to a mandatory detention. In most cases, people are subject to mandatory detention because of a criminal conviction.

However, there is no “master list” that tells us which state statutes subject a person to mandatory detention. In some cases, the DHS prosecutor or ICE official may determine that the crime you’ve been convicted of should subject you to mandatory detention, but there could be an equally valid argument on your side that it shouldn’t. It’s your and your DC mandatory detention attorney’s responsibility to present this argument in court, and the venue in which you do it is the Joseph Hearing. The sole purpose of this type of hearing will be to litigate whether or not the crime actually subjects you to mandatory detention. It’s completely separate and distinct from the rest of the immigration court proceedings.

Bond Hearings After 6 Months in Detention

In some cases, you can be deportable and subject to mandatory detention, but the government is unable to physically remove you from the United States. Generally, this is because ICE cannot obtain a travel document from your home country that will allow you to legally be repatriated abroad. In these cases, ICE needs to do an evaluation after 90 days to see if there is a substantial likelihood that they will be able to obtain that travel document in a reasonable amount of time.

If they can’t show that they’ll be substantially likely to obtain the travel document. which is needed to physically deport you from the United States in a reasonable amount of time, then they can release you from detention.

The reasoning behind this is because there are some individuals that could be detained for literally the rest of their lives because they’re subject to mandatory detention and because they’re not eligible for any kind of immigration status in the United States. Yet, they’re also not able to be physically deported to their home country.

If you have been subjected to mandatory detention, you should contact a mandatory detention lawyer in DC right away. You are entitled to legal counsel in immigration court proceedings, though the government is not required to pay for it.

Challenging a Mandatory Detention

In some cases, there are ways to challenge a mandatory detention. The first and most common way is by requesting a Joseph Hearing, which will challenge the determination that ICE has made that you are subject to mandatory detention.

Also, in some cases, ICE can exercise prosecutorial discretion if you have a very compelling reason that you should be allowed out of jail while your immigration case is pending. ICE – not the immigration judge – has the discretion to waive mandatory detention.

Importance of a DC Mandatory Detention Lawyer

If you have been determined to be subject to mandatory detention you can contact a DC mandatory detention lawyer to help with your case. This is especially important with drug offenses or firearms offenses because you may have a good argument that you should not be subject to mandatory detention.

In many cases, even if you are subject to mandatory detention, you may have an option for release. There are a number of immigration benefits that you still may be eligible for even if you’re subject to mandatory detention. It’s extremely important that you get a lawyer as soon as possible in these cases because you will have to defend yourself and apply for this immigration benefit while you’re in detention.

DC Mandatory Detention Lawyer

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