Home » Blog » Immigration » ICE Launches CeBONDS for Online Immigration Bond Payments

ICE Launches CeBONDS for Online Immigration Bond Payments

ICE Launches CeBONDS for Online Immigration Bond Payments

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency arrests hundreds of undocumented immigrants across America each day. Once these individuals are processed, they are held in ICE detainment centers or local prisons while they await a bond hearing. Those eligible for release through an immigration bond must then wait for payment to be posted before they are free to leave and return on their own recognizance. In the past, this required friends or family members to visit an ICE location in person to make the payment. This presented a number of complexities for everyone involved. Recently, however, ICE launched an online immigration bond payments portal known as Cash Electronic Bonds or “CeBONDS”

Problems with ICE’s Former In-Person Only Immigration Bond Payments

Under ICE’s traditional bond payment system, a person whom ICE detained would often receive their bond eligibility status shortly after being processed. The financial sum would be determined and payment would need to be made before the immigrant could leave ICE custody. While this remains the same with online payments, it aims to eliminate some of the bottlenecks and challenges faced with the former practice. For starters, many family members and friends of immigrants are fearful of entering ICE facilities. Many of them worry that their own legal status may be questioned and they may be detained themselves while entering the facility to post bond with a legal immigration bond sponsor. 

In addition to this common concern, there were a host of other challenges, including:

Limited payment options: Traditional ICE immigration bond payments were only able to be paid with cashier’s checks or money orders. This meant that before a bond could be paid, bond sponsors had to make arrangements to secure large sums of money in these forms. When detainments occurred over weekends or holidays, this caused extensive delays due to limited bank operations. These limited options created frustrations among bond sponsors as well as detained immigrants.

Language barriers: Many immigration bond sponsors and families of immigrants do not speak English fluently. The in-person requirement created dilemmas for those with limited English proficiency. They would often need the help of an interpreter which caused delays for everyone and required ICE to provide additional assistance to complete the process.

Limited payment locations: While immigration bond sponsors could visit their nearest ICE facility to post bonds, this still required lengthy travels for many people. This presented significant financial concerns for those without personal vehicles and made it impossible for individuals with health concerns and limited capability to travel to an ICE facility.

Delays and errors: Families who have worked with ICE to make immigration bond payments know how frustrating the process is from start to finish. Because they were required to pay with cashier’s checks or money orders, delays were common. In some cases, this meant that posting bond at an ICE facility took an entire day to complete. The troubles with delays and errors didn’t end at this point; however, with many receiving ICE bond refunds several months or years later than expected (if at all). 

How CeBONDS Works 

ICE’s new payment platform aims to modernize the process by processing payments online. This eliminates the need for physical storage space, paper documents, cashier’s checks, and money orders. Instead, bond sponsors visit the OKTA-secured website system. Here, they are able to register and gain access to the system which allows them to verify bond information, post the bond, and receive important electronic notifications from a phone, tablet, desktop, or laptop. While the system does not accept credit card or debit card payments, the obligor can use ACH payments or Fedwire. These services are compatible with most online banking platforms to streamline the process.

Other Options for Immigration Bond Payments

While CeBONDS aims to simplify payments and offers an improvement over the former method, the payment options are still limited. To pay an immigration bond through ICE, the sponsor must have adequate funds in their bank accounts. For those who do not have the full amount of cash in the bank to cover the bond, other options will still need to be explored. A surety bond, for example, allows loved ones to pay a small portion of the total bond amount to release the immigrant from ICE custody. 

Connect with US Immigration Bonds

Want to learn more about your options for immigration bond payments? Contact us today to discuss your situation and learn how we can help.