An immigration bond is an opportunity to get on with life while waiting for an upcoming hearing. It allows a detained migrant temporary release giving you time to reconnect with family, go to work, save money for the court appearance, and prepare a proper defense for trial.
The bond can be paid at any ICE office in any part of the country regardless of where the detainee is being held. The person making payment, or the obligor, has to prove legal U.S. status, have a valid Social Security Number, and present a photo identification. Payment to the U.S. ICE can only be in the form of a cashier’s check or money order.
If the detainee does not have previous removal orders, then the individual may request a bond redetermination hearing to contest the bond amount. An attorney for the detainee may appear to argue on behalf of the individual. The amount set by the ICE is based on the nature of the violation, past immigration violations, and the criminal record of the detainee.
The individual’s attorney can argue that the bond should be reduced based on the following circumstances:
Our attorneys can provide a bond packet to the court in defense of the detainee. This can contain documentation of the person’s work history; medical records; birth certificates of children, parents or spouse living in the U.S.; letters of recommendation; proof that taxes were paid; and proof that the person is of sound moral character.
The minimum bond is $1,500. There is always the danger that the Immigration judge may raise the bond based on adverse facts or aggravating circumstances as presented by the government’s attorney.
At the end of the case regardless of the outcome, the bond is returned with interest to the detainee or obligor who paid for the bond provided it was not forfeited for a non-appearance.
Bonds are only useful, though, if your bond is set fairly by the courts and you hold up your end of the bargain afterward.
Whenever an individual is arrested for an offense and his or her immigration status is determined to be invalid or unlawful, the DHS or Department of Homeland Security is advised. The DHS will arrange for the person to be held until the agency can arrange to pick up the person.
Before the person who is alleged to have an immigration violation is taken to an immigration detention facility, the charges are determined at initial processing along with the type of immigration violation case. Here, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency will determine if the person may or may not be eligible for release on bond. A bond is similar to bail in other types of arrest situations, where the arrested individual, family or friends can put up a certain amount of money to secure the person’s release. The bond amount is to provide some kind of guarantee that the detainee will be present at all future court appearances. If a person does not show up for a scheduled court appearance, the bond is forfeited.
If the offense is minor, an ICE agent can release the person on “Own Recognizance” (OR) with the promise to appear at future hearings before the Immigration Court. If the immigrant does not appear, and is subsequently arrested, he or she faces the loss of the right to defend the matter and can be deported. He or she may also have to wait years before the person can apply for a visa.
If a bond is set and not immediately paid, or if the person is denied bond or release, the immigrant may be sent to an immigration detention facility at any location in the U.S.
The detainee has the opportunity to contest the bond amount at a bond redetermination hearing if it is too high or unreasonable based on the detainee’s circumstances. There are also cases where the detainee is not permitted release, such as where the person has certain criminal convictions or is a foreign national with previous removal orders.