How Long Do You Stay in a Detention Center?

Closeup of a letterhead for ICE on a US flag

We know the immigration process is frustrating, especially with the prospect of being held in an immigration detention center. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can detain individuals if they violate immigration law.

Individuals and their families affected by these policies often wonder: how long do you stay in a detention center? The answer is not straightforward. How long ICE can detain someone varies based on multiple factors and requires careful consideration.

Suppose someone enters the United States without following the proper legal procedures or overstays their Visa. In that case, ICE can hold you before deportation. These arrests can occur unexpectedly during routine traffic stops, workplace raids, or encounters with ICE agents and local law enforcement agents (LEA).

The Average Length of Stay in a Detention Center

While you may wonder how long you can stay in a detention center, the answer depends on your case. According to ICE data, the average length of stay by the end of fiscal year 2023 is 37.5 days. It’s important to emphasize that how long immigrants stay in detention centers can vary significantly. There is no definite timeframe for how long ICE can hold you before deportation.

Some individuals, unfortunately, experience extended periods of detention. Take the Adelanto ICE Processing Center, for instance, where the average length of stay can reach a staggering 714 days. Although most detainees spend shorter amounts of time in detention, there are instances where how long immigrants are held in detention centers is prolonged.

Factors that Influence How Long You Stay in a Detention Center

Since the immigration process is long and complex, how long you stay in a detention center will vary. There are several factors that can extend how long ICE can detain someone:

  1. Lengthy court processes or appeals have the potential to prolong detention duration significantly.
  2. Backlogs with other legal proceedings can also influence how long you stay in an immigration detention center.
  3. Obtaining the required documents and verifying a detainee’s identity may cause delays that unnecessarily prolong how long ICE detains someone. The length of detention can be affected by the time it takes to obtain the necessary travel documents from the country of origin.
  4. Deportation procedures can prove to be complex and time-consuming, particularly when the immigrant’s country of origin implements rigorous repatriation policies.
  5. Health and safety concerns mean that individuals with medical or mental health issues may require extended detention for necessary care or evaluation.
  6. In some instances, specific situations like medical issues or humanitarian concerns might arise, causing a delay in the deportation process.

What Happens When Immigrants Are Detained?

You may be anxious about how long you can be detained in an immigration center because of what happens if you are detained. An immigrant can be detained by ICE during raids or by border patrol, but that’s not the only way to be taken to a detention facility. When a non-citizen is arrested and shows signs of being undocumented, it is within the authority of a law enforcement agent to inform ICE.

Alternatively, ICE may reach out to the law enforcement agency (LEA) if they wish to conduct an interview regarding immigration status. This typically occurs when detainee information is entered into shared databases with ICE.

When situations like these arise, ICE takes action by filing a “detainer.” You might now wonder how long can ICE detain someone through a detainer. Well, this request asks the police or jail to hold the individual for an additional 48 hours (excluding weekends) while ICE arranges an interview to assess whether they should be placed in removal proceedings (deportation).

According to the law, ICE has the authority to hold someone for a maximum of 48 hours. If ICE fails to take custody of you within the specified 48-hour period, the law clearly states that you must be released.

The conditions in ICE detention centers have been heavily scrutinized. Complaints have shed light on overcrowding, improper medical care, lack of sanitation, and insufficient nutrition. These conditions raise legitimate concerns regarding human rights and the health and well-being of detainees.

Also, the procedures and processes that cause unnecessary delays have been criticized. This is why many wonder about how long you can be detained in an immigration detention center.

American flag behind barbed wire

Immigration Bonds: Getting Released from an Immigration Detention Center

You might not have to worry about how long you can stay in a detention center. Fortunately, the majority of immigrants detained by ICE can be released shortly after their initial arrest through an immigration bond.

These bonds work similarly to bail bonds, where a specified amount of money is paid as collateral to ensure the cooperation of the immigrant upon release. You won’t have to worry about how long ICE can hold you before deportation because you will be released as long as you make required court appearances.

Typically, detained immigrants can find out their eligibility for an immigration bond and the associated cost within a day or two of arrival at the ICE facility. Once determined, if an immigration bond sponsor pays the full amount, the immigrant can be released promptly.

Immigration judges have the authority to lower the bond amount upon request during a Bond Redetermination hearing in immigration court. However, there is no guarantee of a change in the amount.

Immigrants who have built their lives in the United States may face excessive stress when unexpectedly detained in an ICE facility. They have homes, families, jobs, and deserve peace of mind during this process. Not only do they worry about their own fate, but their families also have to wonder about their wellbeing and how long immigrants stay in detention centers.

Immigration Bail Bonds Services

Suppose your family and loved ones are unable to afford the funds for the immigration bond. In that case, they have the option to use a bail bond immigration service. When financial constraints stand in the way of an immigrant’s release from detainment, this is the solution. Family members and loved ones won’t have to worry about how long you are held in detention centers and if you are safe.

Liberty Immigration services offer a lifeline to families and loved ones who are unable to afford the full amount of an immigration bond. It’s a practical option that ensures you don’t have to worry about how long immigrants are held in detention centers.

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