What are Immigration Bonds?
Government statistics estimate that as of early 2020, there are up to 12 million undocumented immigrants living and working within the United States. Under US law, undocumented persons who crossed the border illegally are subject to detention and removal.
If you have a friend or loved one who has been detained by ICE, aka Homeland Security , and you’ve been told you can secure an immigration bond while you fight for their right to stay in the country, you likely have a lot of questions about what immigration bonds are, how immigration bonds work, and what the process entails.
When government law enforcement personnel believes that a non-citizen does not have legal resident status in the US (ie: they were not granted permission to enter the United States), that person may be arrested and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.
If the detained person does not have an existing removal order (for example, if they were previously ordered to self-deport and failed to do so, or if they were deported in the past due to a criminal conviction), they may be eligible to post an immigration bond.
Immigration bonds are similar to bail bonds in that they allow detainees to be released from custody while their case is being decided. In most cases, if it’s determined that the detainee is not a flight risk (ie: the court believes the immigrant will return to court as required) and they don’t pose a threat to community safety, immigration bail bonds will be granted.
It should be noted that people who are detained by US Customs and Border Patrol agents (or local law enforcement agents) because they are caught trying to enter the United States illegally, will not be allowed to post immigration bonds. In this case, the immigrant will either be arrested and charged with “Illegal Entry” in the federal criminal system, or, based on recent changes to procedures because of the coronavirus, they may be automatically deported to their country of origin.
Similar to bail bonds, but slightly different
Simply put, an immigration bond is a type of insurance policy that’s posted within the immigration court system, that allows an immigrant to be released from ICE custody while their case is being decided. The signer for the immigration bond must have legal status in the United States and be willing to sign documents that guarantee the immigrant will return to court as often as needed until their case is decided.
Bond amounts are varied and are set at the discretion of the court. The cost to purchase immigration bonds will be 15% of the total bond amount. For example, if immigration bonds are set at $10,000, the fee to purchase the bond will be $1,500. This fee is nonrefundable no matter what happens with the case. It should also be noted that all immigration bonds require 100% collateral.
If you need to arrange an immigration bond and/or you have additional questions about how immigration bonds work, call our office today to get started.
Federal Bonds (criminal) or Immigration Bonds (civil): What is the Difference?
If you have a friend or loved one who has been arrested by federal law enforcement officials, such as Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) or Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), you likely have a lot of questions about how to get that person released from custody.
Although people who are detained by ICE are taken into federal custody, and people who are arrested by the USMS, CBP or DEA are taken into federal custody, the type of bond you’ll need to get them out can vary. For example, the process to get federal criminal defendants released from jail is different than the process of getting undocumented immigrants released from an ICE detention center.
Quick facts on federal bail bonds and immigration bonds
Whereas federal bail bonds help get federal pretrial defendants released from jail, they are not the same as immigration bonds. Immigration bonds are a type of federal bail bond that are used for persons who have cases that are being decided by the US immigration court.
For example, if you have a loved one who is being held at an ICE detention facility, you may be inclined to call a federal bail bondsman. But unless the bondsman also specializes in immigration bonds, they will not be able to help you.
How they’re similar
Federal and immigration bonds are similar in that the bail amounts are set at the discretion of the court. The minimum bond for either system often starts at $1,500 (although it should be noted that $1,500 bonds are rare), they are often set much higher than that.
The cost to purchase bonds of either type will depend on where bail has been set. In federal criminal cases, the cost to purchase federal bail bonds spans between 12-15% of the total bail amount. The cost to purchase immigration bonds will be 15%.
When you need to arrange federal or immigration bonds, the bondsman will need someone to sign for the defendant (or immigrant.) The person who signs for the bond is responsible for two things: first that the detainee will go to court as often as needed to finish their case. Second, the signer is responsible for payment of the bondsman’s fee. That fee is nonrefundable no matter what happens in court.
To arrange these types of bonds, you’ll be asked to post full collateral with the bondsman. For example, if the bond has been set at $20,000, you’ll need to post $20,000 in collateral. Although most collateral is posted in the form of real property (ie: putting up a house or condo), the bondsman you’re working with may accept alternate types of collateral, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Regardless as to whether you need help with immigration bonds or federal criminal bonds, we can help. Bail Bond Professionals has years of experience in helping post bonds within the state, federal and immigration court systems. For more information on how to get started, call our office today to learn more.