If an immigrant is released on bond, it means that he or she will pay a certain amount of money to be released from detention.
The immigrant will get this money back at the end of the case as long as they do all of the following
- Go to every court appearance and any other appointment set by ICE
- Do not have any new criminal convictions
- If ordered to depart the United States, comply with this order
Paying this bond is a way to guarantee that the immigrant will show up for all of their hearings without keeping the immigrant in the detention center. The minimum bond amount is $1,500. The bond amount must be paid in full at one time.
Does someone in immigration custody have a right to release on bond?
Only some immigrants held in custody during removal proceedings have the right to release on bond. Under federal immigration law, many immigrants can be held in "mandatory detention" while their case is pending. Immigrants who are subject to mandatory detention must remain in custody while they fight their cases.
The issue of who is eligible for bond is very complicated. Some types of criminal convictions make an immigrant ineligible for bond, while other types of criminal convictions do not. It is best for a detained immigrant to talk to an immigration lawyer about whether or not he or she is eligible for bond.
Who decides if a detained immigrant gets bond?
An ICE agent will make the first decision about whether or not to offer bond to a detained immigrant. When immigrants are taken into custody, ICE will give them a notice called an I-286 notice. This notice says whether or not the immigrant is eligible for bond. If ICE decides that they are eligible, it will determine the amount of bond.
The notice will also say whether or not the immigrant has a right to ask an IJ to review ICE’s decision about bond. For example, if ICE has decided that an immigrant is eligible for bond, but has set a high bond, the immigrant can ask the judge to lower the bond amount.
Can an immigrant appeal an IJ's bond decision?
Yes. An immigrant can appeal by filing a form EOIR-26.
The appeal must be received by the Board of Immigration Appeals in Falls Church, VA within 30 days of the bond decision.
What can immigrants do if ICE says they are not eligible for bond?
If ICE says the immigrant cannot ask a judge to review its bond determination, the immigrant can still ask the judge to decide if this is correct. The name for this kind of hearing is a “Matter of Joseph” hearing. At this hearing the immigrant will have to show that it is not likely that ICE will win its argument that the immigrant has a criminal conviction that falls into a category making him subject to mandatory detention. If the IJ decides in the “Matter of Joseph” hearing that ICE is not likely to win on its charge, the IJ will grant the immigrant an actual bond hearing and set bond.
How does an immigrant request a bond hearing in front of an immigration judge?
There are 3 ways an immigrant can request a bond hearing in front of an Immigration judge (IJ):
- By checking the box on Form I-286, Notice of Custody Determination, saying that they would like an IJ to review ICE’s custody determination;
- By orally asking the IJ for a bond hearing at their first immigration court date; or
- By filing a written motion for a bond hearing at the Chicago Immigration Court, located at the Chicago Immigration Court, 525 W. Van Buren St. Ste. 500, Chicago, IL 60607.
If the immigrant decides to file a written motion at the Chicago Immigration Court, they should serve a copy of the motion on the ICE Office of the Chief Counsel, located in the same building, at Suite 701. They should state in the motion that they have served the Office of the Chief Counsel. The motion should also meet all the requirements for filings in the Immigration Court, which are described in Chapter 3 of the Immigration Court Practice Manual.
What kind of evidence should an immigrant present in their bond hearing?
An immigrant should submit evidence in the bond hearing that shows she is not a flight risk, a danger to the community, or a risk to the security of the United States. The IJ will also give weight to whether the immigrant has any way to try to remain lawfully in the United States. IJs can consider virtually any kind of evidence in a bond hearing. An immigrant can also present their or another persons’ testimony in support of their bond motion.
What type of documents can an immigrant submit that might lead the IJ to set a low bond?
An immigrant can submit any of the following documents that apply to her:
- Evidence of rehabilitation from a criminal offense, like a letter from a counselor or a parole officer
- For individuals with alcohol-related offenses, particularly driving under the influence, proof of alcohol treatment, including classes, AA meetings, and in-patient and out-patient programs
- A certified statement of disposition that shows probation was successfully completed
- Any certificates for classes or degrees completed while in jail
- A letter from an employer showing that the immigrant has a job waiting for her
- The deed to a home and proof of mortgage payment, or a rental lease
- Evidence of ownership of other property, such as a car
- A marriage certificate
- Birth certificates of children
- Proof of child support
- Educational degrees or certificates
- Letters from community and religious leaders, neighbors, friends or family members, with copies of the writers’ valid government IDs or notarization when possible
- Copies of income tax returns, showing that the immigrant has paid taxes using a valid ITIN or social security number
Note: Any foreign languages documents submitted in support of a bond motion must be translated into English. They must be accompanied by a signed and dated certificate of translation, stating that the translator is competent in both the foreign language and English and has accurately and completely translated the document.
Does the immigrant have to pay the entire bond, or just part of it?
The immigrant will have to pay the entire amount of bond set by the IJ. If the immigrant cannot afford to pay the entire bond, there are some bonding companies that require the immigrant to pay part of the bond and they will pay the remainder. Bonding companies charge a fee for this service.
What can an immigrant do if they are held in detention without bond and their removal case is taking a very long time?
Some courts have said that it may be unconstitutional to hold somebody in mandatory detention if their removal case is taking an especially long time. If an immigrant is being held in detention without bond for a very long time, they can seek release by filing a habeas corpus action in federal court. The rules for filing habeas corpus petitions are complicated, and it is best to try to get an attorney to file the habeas corpus petition.