The Stop Immigration Bond Abuse Act would curb private companies, put a sliding cap on the amount that bond companies could charge for their services, as well as prohibit the use of electronic monitoring devices and establish a new licensing system to provide bail and other services for detained immigrants. Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and subject to litigation, according to the bill. The bill passed the legislature at the end of the session, and now awaits Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature.
A bond for detained noncitizens is an amount of money set by 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.
But when immigrants may not be able to afford the amount of bond set–which is a minimum amount of $1,500 but can go upwards of $10,000–many may turn to for-profit bond companies for help. Some immigrants have also been required to pay fees of greater than $400 to keep an ankle monitor on.
And last week, advocates traveled to Albany to push the passage of the legislation in a day of advocacy for the Stop Immigration Bond Abuse act and the New York for All Act.
“The Stop Immigration Bond Abuse Act is critically needed to protect immigrant New Yorkers’ privacy, safety, and dignity,” New York State Senator Jamaal Bailey, who is sponsoring the bill in the Senate and represents part of the Bronx, said last week. “Vulnerable New Yorkers should not have to choose between being separated from their loved ones and subjecting themselves to unscrupulous companies that exploit their fear for profit.”
Sen. Bailey and Assembly Member Harvey Epstein, who represents parts of Manhattan and is sponsoring the legislation in the Assembly, said the immigration bond industry is overdue for oversight, so they want to establish a regulatory framework.
“When I heard about the abusive system that we see that immigrants face when going to bail bonds people, I knew we had to do something about it,” Epstein told THE CITY and Documented. “We don’t see the oversight in other states as we’re trying to do here in New York, and I think this could be a model for the nation.”
From an article co-published in partnership with THE CITY