Common Misconceptions About Immigration Bail Bonding
It’s easy to see why immigration bonds are often compared to criminal bail bonds—after all, in each case someone is paying for the bond to secure the release of a detainee, enabling them to appear for future court hearings.
But it’s not as simple as that, and the experienced experts at US Immigration Bonds & Insurance Services, Inc. can explain why, along with offering some valuable advice.
Misconception: many people think that an alien will be relieved of their bond obligation after showing up at their first court date.
That’s not the case. Once an alien secures an immigration delivery bond, he or she will be released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, but that’s not the end of the process.
The alien still has to appear for all court hearings and for all I 340’s ICE Form I-340. In the past, the bonding company would sometimes be notified of court hearings, but this is no longer the case.
Today, the alien and his or her attorney are the ones who are formally notified of court hearings.
The bonding company or person who posted the bond will not be notified of court hearings, but they will receive notice of an I-340 issued by the office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), and they can then call the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) hotline at 1-800-898-7180 for more information.
At that point the EOIR will ask for the eight-or nine-digit alien number, and when you give it to them the agency will release key information about the case.
Misconception: All immigration bonding companies are the same.
They’re not, and here’s why it’s important to work with a company like US Immigration Bonds & Insurance Services, Inc.
Typically, the alien’s attorney is not notified of an I-340, and this can lead to a communication breakdown between the alien, his or her attorney, and the bonding company. Other times, an immigration attorney will advise their client not to appear for an I-340 because they’re worried about the alien being detained. But if an alien doesn’t show up for the I-340, it can result in a breach of bond and forfeiture of the total sum of the bond.
In contrast, our experts maintain proper communication with our clients and their attorneys so we can avoid unnecessary situations that may result in bond forfeiture.
Misconception: An I-340 is rarely issued.
In fact, an I-340 may be issued for many reasons, including interviews, case status reviews, and removal or deportation orders. Remember, immigration court is separate from Enforcement and Removal Operations, and court notices are issued independently of I 340s—so if an alien fails to appear in court, the bond will not automatically breach, but the immigration judge will order removal in absentia, which means that the alien will be ordered to be deported for failing to appear. If this occurs though, a Motion to Reopen (MTR) may be filed to get a re-hearing.
Misconception: It’s better not to show up for the hearing, since the judge may enter a deportation order anyway.
That is not accurate. If the alien does appear in court and the presiding judge enters an order of deportation, an appeal may be filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals, or BIA.
What Happens If An Alien Is Ordered To Be Removed?
The alien’s file will then be transferred from immigration court to the ERO office that’s responsible for that person.
First, ERO will review the file. Then it will issue an I-340 to the alien and to the entity that posted the bond. The next steps depend on the particular situation:
Situation #1: If the bond was posted by a bonding company.
In this case, ERO will review the I-352 bond contract to find out if they are required to notify the obligor (insurance company), the co-obligor (the actual bonding agent or agency), or both.
US Immigration Bonds ensures that the box marked ‘both’ is checked, so ERO will be required to notify us and our insurance company.
Situation #2: If the obligor fails to produce the alien for the I-340.
If this happens, ERO will breach the bond and issue an I-323 (Notice-Immigration Bond Breached) to the obligor following the same procedure used for notification of the I-340, described above.
At that point, the obligor will have 30 days to appeal the breach by submitting a Form I-290B, if they feel there is a legitimate defense to the breach. US Immigration Bonds has had years of experience dealing with breached bonds and, if there’s a valid defense, filing an appeal is usually not necessary.
Because we utilize a vast network of contacts within ERO, US Immigration Bonds almost always gets the breach rescinded without having to waste time and money filing an appeal—assuming of course that a valid defense exists.
If the breach cannot be rescinded, we may still be able to get the breach mitigated if the obligor can deliver the alien back into the custody of ICE within up to 90 days. If that happens, the obligor will only have to pay a portion of the bond. The mitigation schedule follows:
- If the alien is surrendered within 31 days of the date of the notice of breach, then 66% mitigation will occur, which means that only 34% of the bond will be payable to DHS;
- If the alien is surrendered from day 31-60, then 50% of the bond will have to be paid;
- From day 61-90, there’s 30% mitigation, so payment of 70% of the bond will be required;
- •After 91 days no mitigation is available.
A complete explanation of ICE policy regarding acceptance of delivery of final-order aliens can be found here:
These guidelines greatly reduce the incentive of bonding companies to pursue the surrender of an alien pursuant to a breach.
Situation #3: The mitigation period has elapsed.
At this point, ERO will utilize a checklist (Breached Surety bonds – Referral for Collection) to ensure that the correct procedures have been followed. If they have, the alien’s file will be referred to Operations Management—formerly the Burlington Finance Center (BFC)—for invoicing.
Operations Management will then issue an invoice to the obligor, which has to pay the bond penalty within 30 days. If the invoice is not paid, the file will be sent to the U.S. Treasury Department for collection.