If you have someone in custody or detainer with the Department of Homeland Security (formerly Immigration and Naturalization Service - INS), you have found the experts in immigration bail bonds. You will need someone who knows the system, the procedures and process. We have over 60 years of experience working with DHS, ensuring the release of the detainee to their loved ones.
Take a deep breath and relax. You are in good hands with Gonzales & Gonzales Immigration Bonds.
Scroll down through this section to see why you should call G & G and not a bail bond agent. Then, scroll through the "Bond Process" to determine what stage in the process your family member or friend is in. Call us so that we can hold your hand and walk you through the "Bond Process." Our goal is to get the person released from custody as quickly as possible.
Expert help is only a telephone call away, call toll free 1-800-628-8888.
The process is designed to be a general guide. Because each case is different, and each DHS office handles matters slightly differently.
In custody with Local, State or Federal authorities (prison/jail)
As a general rule, DHS/ICE does not want aliens (both "Green Card" holders and undocumented individuals) in their custody, until the aliens have completed their criminal court cases. DHS/ICE will place a Detainer (see above) on the alien, requiring that the arresting agency notify DHS/ICE when the alien is about to be released. Again, the detainer is only an administrative hold and does not prevent a person from posting a criminal bond. However, even if the alien posts a criminal bond, other authorities will hold him until DHS/ICE can pick up the alien and transfer him/her to their custody.
A DHS Detainer (Immigration Detainer – Notice of Action via ICE form I-247) is similar to a criminal warrant. It is served on the local sheriff, state, or possibly, even Federal authorities. By using this form, DHS/ICE can pick up the subject alien and transfer him or her into their custody for investigation or possible deportation after they have completed their criminal process or have posted a criminal bail bond.
The ICE detainer is merely a civil hold. Most, if not all, law enforcement agencies honor the detainer. If DHS/ICE fails to pick up the alien after 48 hours, the local police or sheriff may release the alien. This is because the local agencies do not want to have to pay for the continuing costs of housing a detainee. However, if DHS/ICE advises the local agencies of any special circumstances, they are more likely to extend the hold.
Once DHS/ICE has the alien in their physical control, they will transfer him/her to a processing center. Once there, the alien is allowed to make collect phone calls. Sometimes the family may visit him, but he is not provided an attorney.
If the alien is in fact in custody, he/she will be assigned an "A" number, (a file number for their case). If the alien is a "Green Card" holder – meaning he/she has established Legal Permanent Residence (LPR) or was previously in DHS/ICE custody, the federal authorities may assign the same number to the case.
Examples: A98-765-432, A098-765-432 or A205-611-328
The leading zero (0) in the A number does not matter – the G & G staff member asking you for this number will be looking for an eight or nine-digit number. This is the number that G & G will use when talking with ICE/DHS to determine if the alien is in custody. Keep in mind that DHS/ICE has thousands of aliens in custody and that they will not typically answer questions regarding a particular individual unless provided with the "A" number.
Each alien's investigation by DHS/ICE can legally only last 48 hours (weekends and Holidays excluded). However, the process could take even less time in a small detention facility or sub-field office. That being said, the 48 hours could be extended for a variety of reasons, including an extensive criminal record of the alien in question and lack of local availability of the documents for the person being detained.
An officer will interview the alien to determine his/her legal right to be in the United States, his/her criminal record and the person's possible justification for remaining in the United States. G & G suggests that the alien be as truthful and cooperative as possible during the interview – keeping in mind that the DHS/ICE officer conducting the interview has the ability to slow down the alien's processing or possibly even "misplace" the file.
At the conclusion of the interview, the officer may indicate that he will recommend that the alien's bond be set at a certain amount. However, this recommendation is NOT official and G & G can't secure the bond conditions (amount) on the alien until the Notice To Appear (NTA) is issued, indicating the charges and the official bond amount.
Once the investigation process has been completed, DHS/ICE will serve the alien with the NTA (Notice To Appear) and will require him/her to sign the reverse side of the form.
Indicated on the NTA will be the following information:
- The "A" number (file number)
- The Alien's Name
- How and where he/she initially entered the United States
- Any Allegation(s) made by the DHS/ICE
- Any Violation(s) of United States Law
The alien will also receive a second document to sign, which is called the Notice of Custody Determination (NCD). If a bond amount is indicated on the NCD, Gonzales & Gonzales Immigration Bonds will be able to have him/her released from DHS/ICE custody; call us immediately toll-free at
If the NCD does not indicate a bond amount set by the DHS/ICE official indicated by "no bond" notation on this document, the alien has the right to have an immigration judge set the bond amount. However, there may be up to a 10-day waiting period between the issuance of the NCD and the hearing before a judge.
- Q. Can the Sheriff refuse a criminal bond when DHS has a detainer?
- A. No, but some law enforcement agencies are unaware of the DHS regulations.
- Q. Why does my criminal bail bondsmen refuse to write the bail bond when there is a DHS "detainer?"
- A. If the bondsmen is aware of the "detainer" and the alien misses a court date because he is still in DHS custody, he could possibly lose the criminal bail bond and be required to pay the court.
If arrested by DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) early in the morning or at your home, this usually means they are enforcing a prior order of deportation. Chances for a bond in this situation are very limited. However, it could also mean that someone reported the alien to DHS and he/she is being arrested because they are in this country illegally.