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Immigration Holds

In 2011, it's no surprise that criminal law and immigration law go hand-in-hand. With the diverse population of both Miami-Dade County and the United States in general, the federal government is going after non-citizens accused of crimes.

If your loved one was not born in the United States and they are arrested and taken to jail, an immigration hold may be placed against them by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This hold is to determine whether the accused is amenble to removal proceedings.

This hold allows ICE to take some time to determine what to do with the accused. If they are a U.S. citizen, the hold will be lifted. If they are not a U.S. citizen, ICE will determine whether the accused is removable from the United States.

If it appears that the alien is removable, the hold remains and the jail will advise ICE when it is ready to release the accused to their custody. ICE must then take custody of the alien withing 48 hours. If ICE does not take custody within that time, the hold is lifted. If the accused is being held on a bondable offense, they will be released from jail upon posting of the bond.

Remember - an immigration hold supersedes a bond. That means, if you paid the bond, it doesn't matter. The feds will continue to hold them until they determine what to do with them.

If the accused is in the country illegally, they will likely remain in custody on the immigration hold. At this point, I recommend that you contact an immigration attorney so that the accused can get a hearing in immigration court.

Immigration law and criminal law stand at a crossroads. With the risk of deportation always being present when a non-citizen is charged with a crime, it is wise to understand the immigration consequences of both an arrest and of a guilty or no contest plea.

Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward. Call today to discuss your case.