Detention & Criminal Immigration

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the law enforcement agency that arrests and detains non-United States Citizens. Basically, ICE is the United States government’s form of the “police” for immigration matters.  ICE carries out the nation's immigration law and enforcement policy (including the recently announced prioritization policy from the Obama administration).

Detainers ("Holds")

When ICE picks up someone directly from the county jail or state prison, ICE places a “detainer” on the individual. This is commonly referred to as a “hold.” Almost all holds turn out to be illegal, and ICE does not have the right to “hold” the individual by statute. Specifically, ICE can only hold someone if : (1) the state contacts ICE (not the other way around); and, (2) the conviction in question is a state drug conviction.

The State Must Contact ICE: this rarely happens. Usually, ICE combs the county jails and state prisons every morning to see who was not born in the United States. If ICE determines that someone is not born here, then ICE may well put a “detainer” on that person, assuming (often incorrectly) that he or she should be deported. As non-attorneys, an ICE official may detain someone, sometimes for days, to make sure that ICE does not let a deportable person go. In essence, many people have a “hold” for no legal reason.

By Statute, a “Hold” Can Only Be Used for People with Drug Convictions: of all those persons with “holds,” many of them were not convicted for a drug violation; as such, ICE has no legal authority to “hold” many of them.

The Law Offices of Dominic E. Capeci may be able to assist you, if you or your love one has a “hold” please contact us. If the “hold” cannot be lifted for any reason, the Law Offices of Dominic E. Capeci may be able to expedite the person’s Custody Re-Determination Hearing before an Immigration Judge to attempt to get him or her out of ICE custody on his or her own recognizance or with a “bond.”

Charged with a Crime versus Already Convicted of One

For decades, the Law Offices of Dominic E. Capeci has defended those charged with, or convicted of, a crime. If charged with a crime, we may be able work with the private defense attorney, the Public Defender and, at times, the District Attorney in order to obtain a plea to a crime that does not adversely affect our client’s immigration matters. For example, one California Penal Code (CPC) charge may seem minor, but it may injure or destroy one’s immigration possibilities. Other CPC charges may seem serious, but they may not harm one’s immigration matters at all. If charged, we may help you chose a plea (in conjunction with your criminal defense attorney) that minimizes or eliminates any harm to your immigration case.

If you have already been convicted of a crime, we still may be able to defend you. We may be able to demonstrate to the Immigration Court that you are nonetheless eligible for a “waiver” (or a pardon), allowing you to get lawful immigration status or keep the status that you already might have.

In essence, the United States government could “waive” (or forego) its legal right to allow ICE to deport a person from the United States. There are numerous types of “waivers,” and they all have different requirements. Also, the factors that the United States government considers differ, depending upon which “waiver” the person need. You may find more information about “deportation proceedings” or “removal proceedings,” and waivers here.

Also, if you have already been convicted of an offense, then the Law Offices of Dominic E. Capeci may help your criminal defense attorney alter the conviction in a way that does not harm your immigration case. For example, if you were not advised of the immigration consequences of a plea before you plead, then you may be able to “vacate” (erase) the conviction because the conviction may be deemed invalid under criminal law.

Please note that it is preferable to have a consultation before taking a plea: (1) there is more flexibility to plea to a charge that is benign for immigration purposes; and, (2) it is more costly to change an old conviction and with less chance of success.

Contact us to see how we can help.
















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