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When can an immigrant be detained?

If you have loved ones in Baton Rouge who recently entered the country or are preparing to do so, the ultimate fear you may share with them is the potential of being detained. Your concerns may be well justified. According to information shared by the Department of Homeland Security, 352,882 people were detained by immigration enforcement agents in 2016. Why can an immigrant bet detained? There are a number of different reasons, yet it may comfort you to know that not all detentions automatically results in deportations.

The DHS defines “detention” as “The physical custody of an alien in order to hold them pending a determination whether the alien is removable from the United States, or while awaiting transportation to their country of citizenship after a final order of removal has been entered.” Detentions are typically carried out by the enforcement arm of the DHS, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Some of the reasons why your loved one may be detained include:

  •          Him or her having committed a crime
  •          Him or her not having a visa before arriving at the border in order to apply for asylum or refugee status
  •          An outstanding deportation order existing on his or her record
  •          Him or her consistently missing immigration status hearings

Criminal offenders and those who are believed to pose a risk to national security and/or public safety are listed as the highest priorities for detention. After that, recent illegal entrants are targeted, followed by those who have violated or obstructed immigration controls.

You can petition that a loved one who has been detained be bonded and released pending a determination on his or her immigration status. To do so, you must be able to show that such an action would not endanger others, and that he or she is not a flight risk. 

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