Immigration Series – After a Raid 2: What is the 48 hour rule?

The 48 hours ICE has to pick up a detained individual under an immigration detainer begins to run either once the individual pays the bond for an underlying criminal charge or otherwise would have been released from custody. Therefore, it is possible that ICE can still pick that individual up after they have paid the local/state bond, and that the time in immigration custody will not count towards a sentence. If possible, consult with an attorney as soon as possible after being detained to assess whether it is good strategy to pay the local bond. Don’t take advice from clerks or jail staff about this.

Other frequently asked questions regarding the 48 hour time frame:

How long can the local government detain a person with a detention order from ICE?

According to federal regulations, a person detained pursuant to an immigration detainer cannot be held for more than 48 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The 48 hour period starts to run after the local or state police would have released that person from their custody for any underlying offense.

What happens once the 48 hours has passed?

Because an ICE detainer only allows for an individual to be detained for 48 hours beyond what is permitted by state law, the detained individual should be immediately released after the 48 hours period has ended. After this period, you and/or your lawyer should ask that you be released if you are not released automatically.

What happens if the jail continues to detain a person when the order has expired?

If the jail does not have independent authority to detain a person based on criminal charges, it is illegal for them to continue to detain that person after the immigration detainer has expired. Contact an attorney if this has occurred.


This information was provided by the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC). MIRC is a legal resource and advocacy center for Michigan’s immigrants. MIRC works to build thriving Michigan where immigrant communities experience equal justice and are fully integrated and respected. Even though this organization is based in Michigan the information discussed is useful throughout the United States. Visit for more information.

To check out the other stories in this series click here.



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