What Is an Immigration Bond and Who Is Eligible?

In 2019, the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported detaining more than 143,000 people.

If your loved one is one of those currently in custody by ICE, you want to have them released quickly. One way to temporarily get them released is through an immigration bond.

But, what is an immigration bond? Who is eligible to receive one? Continue reading to learn everything you need to know.

What’s an Immigration Bond?

An immigration bond allows someone detained by ICE to be out of custody while they await trial. ICE is the United States Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

ICE deals with foreign nationals. This includes illegal immigrants and green card holders. When ICE detains someone, it’s because of immigration issues.

ICE can also detain someone when a foreign national committed a crime. In those situations, it might be necessary to get both an immigration bond and a criminal bond to have a person released from custody.

Who Is Eligible to Receive an Immigration Bond?

Not everyone is eligible to receive an immigration bond. Each person must have a bond hearing to determine their eligibility.

To determine immigration bond eligibility, a person must meet specific qualifications. Most importantly, the detainee can’t be a threat to the community. The detainee must also be determined not a flight risk.

A few other things that will determine if someone can receive an immigration bond include:

  • Previous criminal history
  • Ties to the community
  • If the person is legally employed
  • Previous immigration history (have they been deported before?)
  • The crime itself
  • Previous or current drug and alcohol abuse

The crime could be several things. A person may have entered the country illegally. Their work or travel visa might have expired, or there may be some concern about why the person is in the states.

There are several reasons a person might be detained by ICE. Usually, if a person isn’t a threat to the community or a flight risk, they’ll receive an immigration bond.

Why Might Someone Be Ineligible?

There are two main reasons a person won’t be eligible for an immigration bond.

If a person is thought to be a “threat to the community,” they won’t be eligible for bail. A judge may consider them a threat if:

  • They committed a violent crime
  • They’re under suspicion of being a terrorist
  • They have a lengthy criminal history
  • They’re found in possession of suspicious items (like bomb-making materials or poisons)
  • They’re found in possession of illegal firearms or other weapons

A person may also be ineligible to receive an immigration bond if they’re thought to be a flight risk. Reasons people may be considered a flight risk include:

  • Skipping bail previously
  • Having been deported once already but returning to the country illegally
  • Having no ties to the community (like a job, family, etc.)

These are just the most significant reasons a person may be ineligible for an immigration bond. A judge may find other factors that make it so a person isn’t eligible.

How Do You Get an Immigration Bond?

To receive an immigration bond, a person must first have an arrest warrant and a notice of the custody conditions by ICE. The detainee will likely be placed in custody at that point. A loved one will need to work with an immigration bondsman to get the detainee free.

Before Working With a Bondsman

Before contacting a bondsman, you should make sure the detainee is eligible for bail. They’ll need to have a hearing to determine eligibility. During the trial, a bail amount will be set.

The cost of bail is essential. It may determine which type of bond you can receive for your loved one, as well as how you’ll be able to afford to pay it.

Working With a Bondsman

Once the detainee has been approved for bail, you can contact a bondsman to move forward. Remember, you need a bondsman that works with immigration bonds, and not only criminal bonds. These are two very different things, despite being similar in what they achieve.

The bondsman will walk you through the bail process and help you determine the best payment options. Some bonds don’t cost much, while others can be thousands of dollars.

The most common form of immigration bond used is a delivery bond. A delivery bond is when the detainee signs a contract stating they’ll appear at their immigration hearing. They pay a set amount of bail and are allowed free with specific conditions.

The second type of bond available is a voluntary departure bond. This option is used when a person agrees to leave the country within a specific time voluntarily. If they decide to do so, they will pay a small fee and be released.

Paying the Bond

There are generally two options for paying an immigration bond. The first (and easiest) is to pay the full amount upfront in cash. Few people have this kind of money on hand.

Another option is to pay a percentage of the fee to the bondsman. The rate varies around the nation, depending on the exact bonds company you work with.

The bondsman will front the rest of the bail money. If the detainee doesn’t attend court, the bondsman will collect on the money they fronted. If the person does attend court as agreed, the rest of the money will never come due.

After Being Released on Bail

Once released on bail, the detainee will need to meet certain conditions to remain on release. Terms of release commonly include check-ins, abstaining from drugs or alcohol, and staying employed. It’s also recommended the detainee consult with an immigration lawyer.

Do You Have More Questions About Immigration Bonds?

An immigration bond allows for the release of a person detained by ICE until their court date. There are a few circumstances where a person isn’t eligible for release. The most common reasons for ineligibility are being considered a threat to the community or flight risk.

Do you have more questions about immigration bonds? Check out our other blog posts. You’ll find a wealth of information on related topics.