Immigration Bond 101

When an individual is in custody with Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) they may be eligible for a bond depending on a few factors. Bond is the ability to pay money to have the individual released from custody while their current case is pending. It does not mean that his case is over and he is free to go but instead he can enjoy the liberties of being outside of custody during his proceedings. Bond is not an exclusive right when it comes to Immigration.

There are two ways to obtain an Immigration bond. The first is if ICE determines you are eligible for a bond and sets a price. However, if ICE doesn’t set a bond or if they set one too high you can always ask for a bond through an Immigration Judge.

The Immigration Judge will look at the following to make his decision on whether to allow bond and at what price to set it.

  • He finds that the alien is not at flight risk and will attend all future court hearings.
  • The alien is not deemed a danger to the community and/or is rehabilitated after any crimes which might have been committed in the past.
  • That alien has relief from removal. The greater the chance for the alien to win the immigration case, the more likely the judge is to give a lower bond.

In some situations, the individual must be in mandatory detention and is not eligible for a bond. This occurs when the person has been convicted or has admitted facts to any of the following crimes.

  • a crime involving moral turpitude, unless the maximum sentence possible is one year or less and the actual sentence you received is less than six months OR if you were under 18 when you committed the crime, it was more than five years ago
  • multiple convictions where the combined sentences are five years or more of imprisonment
  • a controlled substance offense (any drug offense, including if the immigration authorities have reason to believe that you are a drug trafficker)
  • a prostitution-related offense
  • terrorist activity
  • significant human trafficking
  • money laundering.

One of the biggest perks of getting an Immigration bond is that you no longer need to reside in custody while your case is going. However, another strategic perk is that since you are no longer in custody you are now transferred to the “Non-Detained” docket which in the past has gone by slower and grants the individual more time in this country while his case is being processed.

Example:

Individual #1 is not eligible for bond therefore he is on the “Detained” docket. He will see an Immigration Judge who only deals with individuals who are detained. This docket is much faster because they are trying to settle these cases quicker due to limited availability in the detention centers. An entire case from start to finish could be over within 5 months.

Individual #2 is eligible for bond and is now placed on the “Non-Detained” docket. This individual will be seen by an Immigration Judge who handles people who are not detained. Because there are so many individuals who make bond, the docket is MUCH larger. Some cases are even set for hearings as far as 2019. Thus, buying the individual another two years in the country while his case is processing.

About Charles Zavala

Charles Zavala is an Immigration and Criminal Defense Attorney in Houston, Texas. Combining his experience of Immigration law and Criminal Defense work, he is able to help many people who face Immigration consequences. Aside from Immigration work, Charles also enjoys working on 4th Amendment Search and Seizure cases.

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