Each year, approximately one million immigrants make their way to the United States of America. Whether they come to America in search of work, a safer environment or to reunite with family, most immigrants initially enter legally. After establishing a life here, they may be devastated to learn that their Visa has expired or that for other reasons, their legal status has been revoked. In these scenarios, the immigrant then faces detainment by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) if they remain in the country. Here, they are held while a determination is made as to whether they can remain in the country unless they are eligible for release through a bond. So, what is an immigration bond?
An immigration bail bond is much like a bail bond for those who are in prison. It presents families and loved ones the opportunity to have their loved ones released from a detention center or jail by paying a specified sum of money as collateral for the cooperation of the immigrant throughout the course of their legal proceedings.
Paying the immigration bail bond, like with traditional bail bonds, does not erase the legal charges against the immigrant whether they initially entered the country legally or illegally. The charges brought forth by ICE will remain and the immigrant is still at risk for removal (or deportation) from the country. The immigration bail bond simply allows the immigrant to be spared from the emotional and physical stress of being detained and held from their loved ones while their case is heard in court.
This process can take anywhere from several months to several years to end, which is why many learn about release and wonder what is an immigration bond. Unfortunately, not all immigrants are eligible for immigration bonds and may be held in mandatory detention until a decision is reached in their case. This generally applies to those with a criminal history, who are a threat to national security or are a flight risk.
For those who are eligible, this status and the amount that will be required to secure the release of the immigrant will be determined within the first day or two following detainment. The immigration bond amount will be set by the ICE director with the minimum bond amount being $1,500. Other factors, like employment status, criminal history and family ties will be used to gauge whether the bond is set at this level or whether it will be higher. If the amount set by ICE is deemed to high by the detained immigrant, they can request a hearing in front of an immigration judge to reassess the bond.
Once the amount of the bond is finalized, the immigrant must then find an immigration bond sponsor. This sponsor will be responsible for paying the amount specified. To do so, they must be a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States and possess a valid photo I.D. as well as an original social security card. From there, they can schedule an appointment with their local ICE facility to post the bond The process typically takes an hour and afterwards, the detained immigrant is released.
For loved ones who cannot afford to pay the full amount of an immigration bond, they may also contact a bond company or agent. This company will charge a percentage of the bond that is non-refundable, usually around 10-15%. A form of collateral, such as the title to a home or vehicle, may also be required to secure the bond. Afterwards, the company will post the bond and the immigrant will be released from the detention center or contracted jail that they are being housed in.
If you’ve asked, “what is an immigration bond?” after discovering that a loved one had been detained by ICE; contact us today to learn more about the options that are available to you.