Every year, thousands of illegal immigrants are captured and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Immigrants are individuals living and working in the United States without the necessary documentation.
Once they become detainees, it takes months sometimes years to hear their cases, especially where a criminal case is involved. In this case, the immigrant needs to pay the immigration bail bonds for them to be set free before their hearing date.
A bond is a commitment declaring the intention to attend all court proceedings and to comply with the court’s demands. The catch however is; the immigration bail bond is only payable by a US citizen or a legal permanent resident.
The warrant is only issued to detainees not viewed as a threat to national security, a flight risk, or a threat to public safety by ICE or the immigration judge.
All You Need to Know About Immigration Bail Bonds
If you have a family member or friend detained by ICE, it is mandatory for you to understand the immigration bond procedures and how to pay this bond.
1. Categories of Immigration Bail Bonds
There are various categories of immigration bail bonds. Here is a closer look at them.
This bond allows the detainee to remain in the United States as they await the hearing for their case. An immigrant judge or the ICE officers determine whether a detainee is eligible for this type of bond.
The detainee also gets notice of custody letter from ICE detailing the terms of their release. They also have to have an arrest warrant to qualify for this type of bond.
Voluntary Departure Bond
This type of bond allows detainees to voluntarily leave the country before a set date and at the own cost once they have paid their bond. The departure bond is refundable once the individual leaves the country. If they fail to leave, they forfeit the bond and risk getting arrested again.
2. How Much Do Immigration Bonds Cost?
Several factors apply when it comes to determining the amount of bond the detainee should be. These include; criminal history, immigration status, employment situation, kinship ties in the country, and their flight risk level. An individual deemed to be a flight risk is bound to have their bail at a much higher amount as compared to someone who is not viewed to be a flight risk.
Also, voluntary departure bonds tend to be lower than delivery bonds. The minimum departure bond is $500 while the minimum delivery bond is $1500.The immigration judge or Ice agents set the bond amount, and ultimately the amount set is at their discretion.
3. How Do I Get an Immigration Bond?
There are two modes of paying for an immigration bond:
In this case, you work with an immigration bond agent to pay the bail for you. You have to pay them 15-20% of the total bond amount, and once the detainee is released, you forfeit the bond amount paid.
In this case, family and friends raise the total amount needed for the bail and pay it directly to ICE. Once the case is over the full amount is refunded to the individual who paid it.
4. Payment Options
The cash bond is payable via a Cashier’s check, U.S. bonds, money order, or U.S. notes. You cannot pay for the immigration bail bond using a personal check. The Cashier’s check should be written out to the Department of Homeland Security.
5. How to Pay an Immigration Bond
- Schedule an appointment with the local ICE office that worked in tandem with the detention center where your friend or family member is in holding. You need to be a legal resident or a citizen to be able to set an appointment.
- Ask if they take bail bond payments. As it would be pointless to go to the office physically if they cannot accept your payment.
- After you make the payment, the ICE office will request the detention center to release the illegal immigrant. You may have to wait an hour or so before they are set free.
- Your next step is to seek legal counsel with regard to the case at hand.
6. Immigration Bond Requirements
Get the detainees’ full names and their alien registration number before you go to pay their bond. Gather document detailing their work ethic, demonstrations of good character, and contribution to the community to help with their case. Get as many reference letters as you can from former employers, religious leaders, and friends.
7. Immigration Bond Eligibility
A detainee is not eligible for the bond if they have a criminal history, are a threat to national security, and do not have an alien registration number.
Be in the Know When Settling Immigration Bail Bonds
Always carry original copies of your Social Security Card and a valid photo. Photocopies of the same will not be accepted. Seek the assistance of legal aid or an immigration bond agent or company if you need assistance getting your immigration bail bond. They can also help you settle the bond on your behalf.
You will not be able to pay the bond if a criminal charge against the individual in question is in motion. The criminal case must be settled in court first. And lastly, it may take a year or longer to get a refund of your bail money from the government once the court proceedings are over. Read on to learn more about immigration policies.