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Immigration Bond for Release from Detention

by Hamid R. Kashani, Attorney at Law
Nov 07, 2018

What is a bond?

The bond (or bail bond) is an amount of money that somebody pays in order to secure the release of a detainee and ensure that the detainee will show up for hearings at the immigration court. If the detainee shows up for all hearings, then the bond will be refunded at the conclusion of the proceedings.  If the detainee fails to show up, the bond will be forfeited.

Detention bonds are different from voluntary departure bonds.  This page deals with bonds for release from detention.

What are the options for getting released from immigration detention?

Some non-citizens are allowed out of detention on their own recognizance (OR), which is a personal promise to show up for the scheduled hearings; some are placed on GPS, telephonic, or home visit monitoring; some are ordered to periodically report to ICE; and some are allowed to post bond.

Some non-citizens (mostly terrorists and those who have been convicted of serious crimes) are subject to mandatory detention and may not be released on bond.

Non-citizens arriving at a port of entry, interdicted on high seas, or arrested inside the country and placed in expedited removal, are deemed as not having been admitted into the country at all.  As such, they are not entitled to bond consideration.  These non-citizens may request parole while the immigration officials decide their admissibility.

A great majority of non-citizens who go through removal proceeding are never arrested or detained.  If you came into the United States through a port of entry, were admitted into the country after inspection, have not tried to hide, and have not committed a serious criminal offense, most likely you will never see an ICE agent. Even if the government decides to deport you, you will receive a Notice to Appear (NTA) in the mail.

How does ICE determine whether an arrestee should be released on bond?

For those non-citizens who may be released on bond, ICE initially decides whether they should remain in detention or be released on bond. If ICE agents deny bond or set a bond above the non-citizen's financial means, the non-citizen detainee may request that an immigration judge review and re-determine the bond.  The immigration judge may set a bond or reduce the amount of the bond ordered by ICE.

Regardless of who makes that decision, a bail bond decision will be based on multiple factors.  These factors can be summarized into two broad categories:  (a) the likelihood that the detainee will appear at the immigration court hearings, and (b) the likelihood that the detainee may pose a public danger.  Facts, which would play important roles in bond determination are family ties and responsibilities, immigration status of family members, number and age of children, home ownership and other financial interests, community ties and involvement, employment records, and criminal record, if any.

A criminal record may adversely affect the bond decision.  Some serious criminal offenses may even result in denial of bond and substantive immigration benefits that may otherwise be available to the detainee.

What is the range of bond amount?

Immigration bonds generally range from $1,500 to $20,000.  The minimum bond amount is $1,500.  There is no upper limit. Detainees, who are released on bond, may not be authorized to work just because of their release on bond.

An immigration bond may be posted by a family member or friend, who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The bond should be paid by a certified check showing the "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" (do not abbreviate) as the payee and the name of the person posting bond as the payor.  The name and A- number, if any, of the detainee should be written in the memo. line of the certified check.

If you are posting bond for a detainee, ensure that you keep a copy of the certified check and all paperwork that you receive when you actually post bond with ICE.  The bond may also be posted by immigration bondsmen.

For additional information, see All About Bonds, a booklet prepared by Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, which is available on the U.S. Department of Justice's web site and at various detention centers.

Related Topics:

Arrest & Detention by ICE

Undocumented Immigrants

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Removal Proceeding Procedure & Defenses

Removal Proceedings

Grounds for Removal

Expedited Removal


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