When an illegal immigrant is arrested by ICE, or the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, they are immediately taken to a detention center. Within the first day or two of their arrival, the agency will work to determine if they immigrant is eligible for release through an immigration bond, or bail. In many cases, the immigrant meets the criteria and an amount for their bond is set. Although the cost of a bond varies greatly, it is often unexpected and expensive. This leads family members, loved ones and detained individuals themselves to question: how long do you stay in jail if you can’t pay bail?
Unfortunately, for a detained immigrant to leave an ICE facility on bail, the amount specified by the agency must be paid in full. If the amount is far too high for a family to afford, the immigrant can request a Bond Redetermination hearing in which they can state their case for a lower bail amount in front of an Immigration Judge. The immigrant can provide information to help their case for reduced bail such as employment information, letters from family or community members and information regarding any pending criminal charges that may have since resolved in their favor. At this point, the judge will decide whether the reduced bail amount is warranted or not. If so, the family will then have to pay the lesser amount to ensure the release of their loved one from detainment.
If an immigration judge does not grant a reduced bail, the family will be left with two options: come up with the funds in cash or consult an immigration bond service.
In some cases, a family may be able to raise the amount of money needed for bail after a few days or weeks. They may be waiting on paychecks to arrive; they may sell assets or even ask for donations from others. When the full amount of bail is raised, an immigration bond sponsor who is a natural citizen or a legal one in good standing with the government must make an appointment at their local ICE facility to make the payment. After the payment is made, the immigrant will be released from detainment within an hour or two. If the immigrant complies with the terms of their bail, the sponsor can receive a refund once the case has resolved in its entirety.
When the family has exhausted all methods and still cannot raise the amount of money needed for bail, their best option is to consult an immigration bail bond service or agent. This company will require a small percentage of the full bond amount, along with a form of collateral. This collateral is typically the deed to a home or the title to a vehicle that will only be collected to offset the full cost of the bond if the immigrant does not comply with the instructions set forth by ICE. Even if the immigrant does comply, the percentage of the bond paid is not eligible to be refunded and instead, is charged as a service fee. With this option, however, the company will arrange the release of the immigrant and will work directly with ICE to secure their timely release.
If all else fails and neither option yields result, those who are wondering how long do you stay in jail if you can’t pay in bail will unfortunately remain in detainment until their case concludes. In some cases, this is a matter of weeks while in other cases, it can be more than a year.
If you are considering an immigration bail bond to secure the release of your loved one from an ICE facility, contact us today to learn more about your options.