The Law Office of Narciso Delgado-Cruz has successfully coordinated the release of non-citizens from criminal and immigration custody, often within a 24-hour period. We can help you obtain the secure release of someone with an ICE hold (immigration hold) and a criminal bond by providing a free case evaluation.


Call (619) 717-2233 to speak to a lawyer today.

Immigration Detention Center


What is an ICE hold (immigration hold)?

An ICE hold (immigration hold) is a detainer placed by ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) when a person they believe to be an illegal alien is in state jail or federal custody. This means that after the state (or federal) government no longer has a claim to the person in jail, that person is rendered to immigration custody.

San Diego County has an ICE agent in every jail in San Diego, including Downtown Central, Vista Detention facility, Las Colinas Women’s Detention Facility, Chula Vista South Bay, and George Bailey in Otay Mesa. The ICE agent, and sometimes the sheriff acting on behalf of ICE, is responsible for determining whether the person in jail is an undocumented alien in the United States.


Priority Enforcement Program (PEP)

On November 2014, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has issued a memorandum on new policies for all immigration enforcement agencies, also called the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP). Because the financial resources for immigration enforcement are limited, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has specified three categories of immigrants that are priorities for immigration enforcement:

  • Priority 1 – Threats to national security, border security, and public safety
  • Priority 2 – Misdemeanants and new immigration violators
  • Priority 3 – Other immigration violations, such as immigrants who have been issued a final order of removal

Therefore, ICE will only request the transfer of a person to immigration custody, i.e. place an ICE hold on a person, if the person falls in one of the above categories of enforcement priorities and there is a chance that the person is removable. However, ICE may request to be notified of the release date from jail of someone who is an enforcement priority and determine whether the person is removable before the release date. In this case, ICE may decide to pick up the person after they are released from jail at the jail’s entrance. Nevertheless, the new narrower enforcement priorities lead to far less ICE holds being placed on immigrants in local or state jails.


Are ICE holds used in California?

It depends on the criminal history of the person held in jail. 15606972_xxl2On January 1st, 2014 California Governor Jerry Brown signed the TRUST Act into law, which ensures that ICE holds cannot be placed on people with minor, non-violent offenses or misdemeanors. However, people with major offenses on their criminal record such as felony convictions, certain felony charges, certain federal criminal offenses, or multiple higher level misdemeanors can still be detained with an ICE hold and rendered to immigration custody. The purpose of the TRUST Act is to rebuild the trust of California’s immigrant community in local law enforcement so that immigrant victims or witnesses of crimes are not afraid to speak up and work together with law enforcement. Moreover, the TRUST Act relieves local jails of the responsibility to detain immigrants with minor offenses for ICE which has strained local budgets. Therefore, most immigrants who were arrested by local California law enforcement agencies and detained in jail will not continue to be detained to be transferred to ICE after they were officially released from jail, for example after posting criminal bond.

Nevertheless, even if no ICE hold is placed on a person in jail, ICE can currently request to be notified of a person’s release date from the local jail and pick up the person at the jail’s entrance. If you are concerned that this could happen to you or a loved one, for example, because they may be an enforcement priority (see above), you can work with an immigration lawyer to evaluate your case and your options.

Unfortunately, we have encountered cases in which jails have not yet enforced the TRUST Act. If you believe you, or someone you know, were the victim of a TRUST Act violation, seek legal assistance! You can either contact an immigration attorney or report the case at, a service offered by non-profit organizations concerned with immigrants’ rights.


How can I find out if someone in jail has an ICE hold (immigration hold)?

In San Diego, and in most counties, the local Sheriff’s Department maintains a website with information about inmates in custody. A quick search of your local Sheriff’s Department website may reveal the person’s arrest date, pending criminal charge(s), and whether an immigration hold has been placed on the person. Sometimes it is necessary to contact the jail directly and get this information. For a listing of jails in Southern California, see the compiled list below.

For arrests made in San Diego County:

For arrests made in Riverside County:

For arrests made in Orange County:

Important Note: Sometimes an ICE hold is not placed immediately on the person detained. An immigration hold may be placed on an arrested party at any time during their detention. Often, ICE holds (immigration holds) are put in place before the noncitizen has a chance to post a criminal bond, but an immigration hold may also appear during later phases of criminal detention.

Can someone with an ICE hold post a criminal bond and bail out of jail?

Yes, but it’s recommended you talk to a lawyer with experience in criminal and immigration law before posting the bond.

Inmates with an ICE hold (immigration hold) do not have to remain in custody until their criminal case is settled with a plea bargain or by jury trial. Noncitizens with an ICE hold may elect to post the criminal bond and bail out of jail.

After posting bond, the person detained will be released to ICE custody. ICE has 48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays) to claim the person from jail.

Before committing to a criminal bond, it’s a good idea to speak to a lawyer familiar with criminal and immigration law who can determine whether the person eligible for criminal bond should have that criminal bond posted.


canstockphoto85759612Should I post a criminal bond for someone with an ICE hold (immigration hold)?

It depends. Having an immigration hold places noncitizens at a major disadvantage and adversely affects the fairness of the entire criminal justice system. The pressure of being detained and away from family members through the pendency of a criminal case often leads many noncitizens to plea out to criminal charges when a good chance to defend and fight those charges exists.

However, if a criminal bond is posted, the person in criminal custody will be released from state jail and rendered to immigration custody. While in immigration custody, they may or may not be eligible for immigration relief, and they may or may not be inadvertently deported or returned to their country of origin.

This may occur if the person has a prior deportation(s) or does not know their rights as an undocumented immigrant in the United States and signs for voluntary return. This will result in the financial loss of the bail amount posted.

The person being turned over to ICE custody can also be rendered to an immigration detention center because they are deemed a flight risk or a threat to their community, or have prior criminal convictions. If the detained alien is moved to immigration custody prior to resolution of their criminal case, the immigration authorities may or may not return the detained alien to criminal court for scheduled criminal court appearances. Thus, the noncitizen might be absent for his criminal court hearings and may have a state warrant issued for his or her arrest.

Furthermore, the time spent in detention at an immigration facility will not count as credit for time served if and when the noncitizen is convicted and sentenced by the criminal court.

It is important to be informed about the detained noncitizen’s immigration history and eligibility for relief in immigration court before deciding to post a criminal bond.

If you are considering posting a criminal bond for someone with an ICE hold (immigration hold), it’s important to contact an informed attorney with experience in both criminal law and immigration law.

The Cruz Law Office, APC has successfully coordinated the release of noncitizens from criminal and immigration custody within 24 hours. We can help you determine if a criminal bond should be posted for someone with an ICE hold (immigration hold) by providing a FREE case evaluation. Call (619) 717-2233 to speak to a lawyer.

What happens to someone with an ICE hold (immigration hold) after they are rendered to immigration?

Shortly after a criminal bond is posted or after the state or local government has no further claim to the person in criminal custody,

the noncitizen will be moved to an immigration detention center, a local jail, or a military base. Often the transfer occurs in the middle of the night, so it’s important that the person keeps a copy of all legal documents at all times.

Noncitizens are placed in a temporary processing station where they are fingerprinted and interviewed. After being processed, the detained alien will be assigned a deportation officer.

What are my rights when detained in immigration custody?

  • DO NOT LIE to an immigration officer!Jail Felony Attorney San Diego Lying to an immigration officer and lying about your status carries serious punishment.
  • You have a right NOT to sign any statements or documents. This right is very important since a detained immigrant can be signing away his or her right to a hearing in front of an immigration judge. If necessary, ask to speak to a lawyer first.
  • Do NOT volunteer information about your immigration status. Anything you say will be used against you later on.

If someone you know finds themselves in immigration custody, they should seek the assistance of an immigration attorney familiar with these issues as soon as possible. Acting quickly in these cases often can make a huge difference.

The Cruz law Office, APC has represented many noncitizens in deportation/removal proceedings. For a free case evaluation call (619) 717-2233.



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Legal Disclaimer: Nothing in this website should be taken as legal advice for an individual case or situation. The information is intended to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation.