» Immigration Arrests Within the U.S.

What is an immigration bond and how to request it?

A bond is an amount of money paid as a guarantee that, if released, a non-citizen will appear in court for removal hearing. Bonds can be set either by ICE at the time the immigrant is detained or by an Immigration Judge at the time of a bond hearing. Some criteria that Immigration Judges consider include: criminal record, flight risk, and form of relief for which the immigrant intends to file in the future.

Once a bond is set, the family or friends of the immigrant can either pay the full amount to have the person released or hire a bond company and offer some form of collateral to the bond company.  Each such immigration bond company has different requirements.

If you are released from detention on bond, you must still make all scheduled court appearances and may still ultimately be removed from the United States. If you do not show up to court when you are scheduled to appear, the bond money will not be returned and you will be ordered deported in absentia (absent)

Once an immigrant who was released on bond has completed all of his court hearings (or has chosen to voluntarily leave the country), his bond money will be returned to the individual who signed the bond (guarantor) papers. 

Are all aliens released if they are arrested by ICE?

Not all aliens held by ICE are released.  In most cases, ICE requires the alien to see an immigration judge in order to request an immigration bond. At this juncture, it is strongly encouraged that you seek an immigration lawyer to navigate the bond hearing process.  

Also depending on the alien’s criminal history, they may be subject to mandatory detention, which means that they are not eligible to receive a bond. In general, serious crimes involving firearms, drugs, or “crimes involving moral turpitude” (theft, fraud, etc.) are the kinds of crimes that subject an individual to mandatory detention.

In deciding whether someone is subject to mandatory detention or not, the alien’s time in jail is not as important of an issue as other factors that may come into play, such as length of sentence even if it is probation. 

What to do if arrested by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement):

Depending on where you live, ICE may be surveilling your community for illegal immigrants.  Also, if your family member has no legal status in the U.S. and he or she has committed a crime (DUI, Driving without a License, Simple Assault, Theft, etc.) they may be flagged by ICE for review of their immigration status, when they are initially charged with a crime.  When ICE interviews you, remember that you are not obligated to speak with ICE.  Many times, aliens make statements which harm their chances for release. 

In most cases, if a person is arrested for a crime, and ICE determines they are illegal, then ICE will put a “detainer” or hold on them.  Therefore, even if the criminal bond is paid, or if the person is released with zero bond by a judge in criminal court, they will not be released, but will instead be transferred to an immigration detention center.

Typically jails have up to 72 hours to hold someone with such an ICE detainer. You should speak with an immigration attorney before paying criminal bail as there may be a detainer on you. 

In some cases, ICE moves aliens from criminal court to immigration custody even while their criminal case is pending.  In such a situation, the case can become very complicated and requires an attorney to make sure the alien does not miss any criminal court hearings, or if they are brought back to criminal court, they should likewise not miss any immigration court hearings.