When an alien is arrested in Texas on criminal charges and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has probable cause to believe he/she is removable from the U.S., the agency will generally issue a detainer. An ICE detainer helps immigration officials assume custody of an alien before they are released from federal, state, or local custody. According to ICE, a detainer will usually request that a law enforcement agency that has a removable alien in custody notify ICE at least 48 hours before he/she is released so that the agency has ample time to assume custody of him/her.

Although ICE encourages law enforcement agencies to cooperate with immigration officials, some cities identify as “sanctuary cities” which means they are prohibited from assisting ICE agents. In other cases, there are jurisdictions that choose to decline ICE detainers, according to ICE. 

After ICE issues a detainer, an alien should receive a copy of the form and the law enforcement agency is encouraged to maintain custody of him/her “for a period not to exceed 48 hours beyond the time when he/she would otherwise have been released from [the agency’s] custody.” The form notifies the alien that an immigration detainer has been placed on them because “there is probable cause that [they] are subject to removal from the U.S. under federal immigration law.”


What happens if ICE fails to maintain custody of an alien after issuing a detainer?


If ICE does not take an alien into custody during the 48-hour period, the agency advises him/her to speak with the agency that is holding them to inquire about their release.


Contacting a San Antonio, TX Immigration Attorney After an ICE Detainer Has Been Issued


If an alien has been informed that a detainer has been placed on them, they or a relative of theirs should contact a San Antonio, TX immigration lawyer as soon as possible. If the detainer was issued in error or the alien is actually a victim of a crime, they need to be represented by a lawyer who is going to protect their rights and interest. The Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen is an immigration law firm located in San Antonio, TX that can help with various immigration-related matters including, but not limited to, deportation, ICE detainers, green cards, visas, and more.

To speak with an immigration attorney in San Antonio, TX to find out if anything can be done to prevent ICE from initiating removal proceedings after a detainer has been issued, contact The Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen at 210-503-2800.


The Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen can be reached at:


310 South St. Mary’s Street, Suite 2100

San Antonio, Texas 78205

Phone: 210-503-2800

Website: www.jjosephcohen.com

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