Immigration and Customs Enforcement can issue “detainer requests” when it suspects that a person is an illegal immigrant. This is basically a request to hold the person in jail until ICE officers arrive.


Detainer requests are intended to identify illegal immigrants who have committed criminal acts. A detainer request is often the first step in removal proceedings; however, opponents of this procedure assert that it violates the Fourth Amendment under certain circumstances.

Some law enforcement officers in the state of Texas, such as Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez, chose to deny detainer requests unless the suspect faced charges for a serious felony. Refusing to honor detainer requests was acceptable because in 2014, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that ICE detainers were voluntary.

However, Texas is located in the Fifth Circuit, and in April, state legislators passed Senate Bill 4, which requires law enforcement officers to honor detainer requests. An officer who violates this law will now face Class A misdemeanor charges.

Although it is uncertain whether other states will pass similar laws, life is not easy for undocumented immigrants in the United States. If you or a member of your family is undocumented, an experienced green card attorney can evaluate your situation and explain how you might be able to live and work in the country legally.

Rusty O’Brien is an immigration lawyer in Louisville who can address your concerns and provide comprehensive legal guidance. Mr. O’Brien has more than 10 years of experience helping families and individuals with immigration matters. Call 502-400-7890 to schedule a consultation at the O’Brien Law Group.

ICE Mistakenly Issued 83 Detainer Requests for U.S. Citizens in Texas between 2008 and 2012

There are several reasons why Senate Bill 4 has been hotly criticized. Not only are detainer requests a potential violation of the Fourth Amendment, but ICE has also mistakenly issued 834 detainer requests for U.S. citizens. About 10 percent of those retainer requests were made in Texas.

According to a report from Vice News, as Texas legislators debated the proposed bill, a group of community activists and immigrants chanted “Undocumented, unafraid!” in the Capitol’s rotunda. Despite the protest, Senate Bill 4 passed along party lines with a 93-54 vote.

Those who support Senate Bill 4 assert that it enhances consistency regarding the application of the law. They argue that the bill eliminates discretion and offers clarity to law enforcement personnel.

If you have questions about U.S. immigration laws or if you would like to become a lawful permanent resident, turn to the O’Brien Law Group. Rusty O’Brien is the former MidSouth region chapter chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AIM), and he is fluent in Spanish.

Call 502-400-7890 today to schedule a consultation with a green card attorney in Louisville. You can learn more about U.S. immigration laws by visiting the USAttorneys website.

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