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How Immigration Bonds Work

Immigration bonds secure the release of detainees under an agreement that the individual will attend all immigration court hearings.

-> This article is part of Documented’s Glossary. We want to make it easier to understand the U.S. immigration system. If you want to know more about different visa types and immigration terms, please check our library here.
-> To find useful information for immigrants, such as where to find free food or legal representation, check out our master resource guide.

A bond for detained foreign nationals is an amount of money set by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or an immigration judge, which secures the release of the detained immigrant under the agreement that, once out of detention, the individual will attend all immigration court hearings.

Not all detained immigrants are eligible for a bond, it is only given to those who can prove to a judge that they are not a danger to society, or are not a flight risk. ICE, or an immigration judge, will analyze an individual’s history, family ties and background information to determine if they are is eligible. Because there are multiple categories of people that are not eligible to receive bonds, it is rare judges will assign bond amounts for immigrant detainees.

Crimes that require detention without a bond hearing pending removal include: “aggravated felonies” and “crimes involving moral turpitude” under federal immigration law, which can include drug possession, disorderly conduct, and other relatively minor offenses.

Also read: Guide on how to get free legal help for immigrants in NY

The minimum amount immigrant detainees are charged for bond is $1,500 and it can go upwards of $10,000. If bond set by ICE is too high, individuals can request that s immigration judge review it and, possibly, lower it.

Once the bond amount is given, the paperwork must be completed with ICE and paid by an Obligor at the closest ERO Field Office. An obligor must be 18 -years-old or older, and have legal status. 

Also read: What Sanctuary Policies Mean for Undocumented Immigrants

Additionally, immigrants can also be released from detention “on recognizance,” if they check in regularly with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, or if they volunteer to have an ankle monitor placed on them, which keeps track of their whereabouts.

To learn more about the process of posting bonds and refunds, visit this link.

Also read: Guide on how ActionNYC works, a program that provides free legal services in New York City

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