Persons who are non-citizens and believed to be illegally in the United States can be detained and taken into custody by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch, often abbreviated “ICE”.

Once detained by ICE and found eligible for a release on bond, an initial bond amount will be set. This bond is also known as an immigration bond. The bond amount will depend on several factors and risk assessments. If the bond is too high, the decision by ICE can be appealed before a judge in an attempt to get it lowered.

Because non-citizens in the United States are often confused facing laws and legal procedures they are not accustomed to, it can be helpful to point out some important things in regards to immigration bail bonds and what you need to know about them. The immigration laws are complex and it needs a thorough understanding of proper procedures to get out of an already unfortunate situation such as detention by ICE.

What Is An Immigration Bond?

The immigration bond serves as a bail paid by another person with the purpose to release the detainee from immigration detention. This other person posting the bond can be any person with lawful, legal status in the United States or a 3rd party commonly referred to as bondsman. Here it might help to understand that the bond does not mean that now all problems will be out of the way and the detained would automatically be able to stay in the United States.

It is also important to know that if the bond is made directly with ICE it must be paid 100% in a cash equivalent, such as by cashier’s check. Personal checks are not accepted.

The bail for immigration is for the purpose that the detained can get out of detention while the immigration case itself will still be decided by a judge. The immigration bonds help guarantee that the person released from detention will show up for court hearings and reports to immigration officials when asked to do so.

While not a guarantee in any form for the actual outcome of the immigration case, the bail for immigration certainly helps to ease the stress a lengthy immigration case can often bring with it. It will be easier for the non-citizen to seek further legal help as well, as opposed to being detained in an ICE detention facility. If a bond cannot be made or the alien has been found non-eligible, conceding the ICE allegations should be considered since a quick removal from the United States is usually the better alternative as opposed to being detained.

Who Is Eligible For Bail Bonds For Immigration?

Not everyone in the custody of the DHS/ICE is eligible for bail bonds to leave detention.

Persons cannot have an immigration bond posted and leave detention if …

  • They have previously been ordered to be deported. The previous decision by the INS for deportation is already final, it is not possible to obtain a bond and leave detention in such a case.
  • They have certain serious criminal convictions, like felonies for which they served more than one year in jail. In such cases, the alien may be statutorily ineligible for bond.
  • They are at risk of flight to evade immigration proceedings
  • They pose a danger to the community
  • They pose a threat to national security

Who can pay the ICE bail bonds?

The person paying the immigration bonds, also called the obligor, can be any person of legal status in the United States. Detainees can also use the help of a 3rd party or company, called the bondsman.

What happens with the money paid for the immigration bond?

The amount of money paid for the immigration bond will be returned to the paying person once the immigration proceedings are resolved. The formerly detained non-citizen must attend to all ordered hearings and ultimately could win the immigration case or will be removed from the United States by the judge.

However, if the non-citizen behaves in a way to hinder the case, such as by not attending court hearings and reporting to immigrations or even flees the area, the alien will be issued an absentia removal order by the immigration judge and the bond money is forfeited and kept by the government.

If the immigration case was finally won, the obligator can request the bond amount back by showing all required paperwork, such as the bond papers and the final order granting relief from removal.

Immigration law can be very complex and confusing. It is always a good idea to seek professional help to increase the chances for a good outcome of your own case.

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