ICE Detainers VA – What are they? How do they work?

ICE Detainers VAMany times, when a person who has a foreign sounding last name is arrested, ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) will send what is called an “ICE Detainer” to the local Law Enforcement Agency (LEA), or jail, requesting certain information about that person AND that the jail hold the arrested person for up to “48 hours” to give ICE a chance to pick up the subject for prosecution.

Click here to see/download a sample ICE Detainer – DHS Form I-247

Here is how ICE describes the purpose of the detainer:

An immigration detainer serves three key functions: 1) to notify an LEA that ICE intends to assume custody of an alien in the LEA’s custody once the alien is no longer subject to the LEA’s detention; 2) to request information from an LEA about an alien’s impending release so ICE may assume custody before the alien is released from the LEA’s custody; and 3) to request that the LEA maintain custody of an alien who would otherwise be released for a period not to exceed 48 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) to provide ICE time to assume custody. –see ICE Detainer FAQs

Bail Bonds and ICE Detainers VA

“How does an ICE Detainer affect an inmate (in VA) when a friend or relative wants to post a bond to secure release of the inmate?” Simply put, you can post a bail bond for the release of the inmate, however, the inmate will not be released immediately. They likely will be held for at least the “requested” 48 hours. There is a chance, however, that ICE will take custody within that period of time and move the inmate to a different Federal holding facility pending immigration hearings, the outcome of which are uncertain. In the worst possible outcome, the defendant is deported.

“Should I pay a bail bondsman for a bail bond even though my friend/relative will not be immediately released?

In many cases where we have been called upon to help, friends and family have decided “Yes!”


It starts the 48 hour clock ticking. According to ICE, it is illegal for ICE or the jail to hold the inmate past 48 hours.*

Q: What happens if ICE does not assume custody of the individual after 48 hours?

A: If ICE does not assume custody after 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays), the local law enforcement agency (LEA) is required to release the individual. The LEA may not lawfully hold an individual beyond the 48-hour period.* –see: 3rd FAQ from the bottom here

If ICE does not take custody of the defendant, he/she should be, and often is, released.

If a bond is NOT posted for the defendant, he/she may languish in jail for weeks or months until their local area court date. Then ICE may take custody after that.

In the least, posting a bond for the defendant forces ICE’s hand and makes everything move more quickly.

At James Bondsman Bail Bonds, we are happy to help you post a bond for your friends or loved ones. Even those with ICE Detainers in VA.  

Need a Bail Bond for someone with an ICE Detainer?
Call James Bondsman Bail Bonds at:  (804) 370-0053

* While the 48 hour time period is emphatically stress in all ICE Detainer documents, jails in Virginia routinely hold defendants well past 48 hours. (One immigration attorney we know of said about compliance with that time period, “It’s a joke! Jails routinely ignore it.”)

Other ICE Detainers VA helpful information:

ICE – Washington Field Office
Area of Responsibility: District of Columbia and Virginia
Assistant Field Office Director: Matthew Munroe
2675 Prosperity Avenue, 3rd Floor
Fairfax, VA 20598-5216
Phone: (703) 285-6200

ICE Detainers VA – What are they? How do they work? was last modified: April 21st, 2016 by JamesBondsman

About JamesBondsman

James Bondsman, owner and CRO (Chief Release Officer) of James Bondsman Bail bonds. Father of twins. Grandfather to 7, happily married and happily posting bail bonds in Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield VA and all the rest of Central Virginia
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