DC Mandatory Detention Process

Being taken into mandatory detention can be a stressful experience as it includes being taken to an immigration detention facility, which is similar to a prison, and being held there, often for many hours at a time. As a result, if you or someone you know has been placed in mandatory detention it is imperative that you seek out the counsel of an experienced immigration lawyer to help guide you through the process and explain what the mandatory detention process entails. Read on below to learn more.

ICE Custody Notification

You will be notified, which is often a very important issue because it’s common for a family to have paid a criminal bond to get a person out of criminal custody, but then as soon as they pay, the person is immediately transferred into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. In these cases, all that paying the criminal bond does for you is to expedite the process for ICE, and it will not get you out of jail. Further, you’re not going to be eligible to have your bond returned to you until the criminal case is resolved, and in many cases it will be wiser to save your money to retain an immigration attorney.

If you do have a family member who is likely to be placed in to removal proceedings or in custody after they’ve been criminally detained, it’s very important to contact an immigration attorney before you pay their criminal bond.

Challenging Mandatory Detention

You can argue with ICE before the file is even placed into the jurisdiction of the immigration judge. You can make an argument to ICE that states that you don’t believe this individual should be subject to mandatory detention, and at that initial stage they would then be allowed to entertain an application for a bond. In some cases, it’s more efficient and can result in a quicker, cheaper, release.

Length of ICE Hold In Mandatory Detention

You’ll be there for the entire time that your immigration case is in front of the immigration judge, unless you’re granted a bond.

In practice, you may be in mandatory detention for a period of months. In some cases, it can even last over a year. It all depends on what type of immigration benefit you’re eligible for, and the calendar of the court where you’ll be appearing in front of for your immigration proceedings.

Some courts are much slower than others because their dockets are very backed up. However, in all courts, you’ll be placed on a faster calendar than the non-detained people. For non-detained people, cases can and often do drag on for 5 years or more.

Process of Your Case After Being Taken Into Custody

The very first thing that will happen is that ICE will issue you a document called a Notice to Appear, or an NTA. On the NTA, it will detail the reasons that ICE believes you are either removable or inadmissible to the United States. ICE will then send your file to the immigration court who will initiate a case for you in front of the immigration judge.

Next, you’ll appear in immigration court and the first hearing will be something called a master calendar hearing which will be with a number of other individuals who are detained.

At that point, you will inform the judge about what your plans are for defending in yourself in the removal proceedings. At some point, if you do have options for relief, you will be scheduled for an individual hearing, or a “hearing on the merits,” which is basically a trial. That hearing will just be you, your attorney and any witnesses you’ll be calling, the judge, and the prosecutor.

If you’re not eligible for any kind of immigration relief, you can request to terminate your case at the master calendar phase and request to be removed from the United States.

Where Mandatory Detention Cases Are Heard

The cases will be heard in one of the immigration courts throughout the country. They all fall under the Executive Office of Immigration Review, or the EOIR, which falls under the umbrella of the Department of Justice. There are a number of them throughout the country and you will be placed into the immigration court that is geographically closest to the place you were residing before you were detained.

DC Mandatory Detention Lawyer