Can you bail someone out of immigration charges?

Jan 10, 2022 | Uncategorized

US passports and judge's gavel

Understanding the Immigration Problem

When most people think of immigration issues, the southern border or the Canadian border comes to mind. But immigration is an issue all across this country, both legal and illegal, including here in Tennessee, which points us in the direction of our topic today: Immigration bail bonds

How do immigration bail bonds work?

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has the authority to arrest an undocumented person, or someone suspected of being undocumented, and take them into custody. A deportation officer will determine if that person should have access to an immigration bail bond via an immigration bail bonds agent. 

Immigration bail bonds work the same way standard bail bonds work for other types of arrests with a few minor differences. Whereas standard bail bonds allow an arrested person to be released until their criminal court date, immigration bail bonds allow the suspected undocumented person to be released from the ICE detention center until their hearing. 

What happens if an immigrant gets arrested?

An undocumented immigrant may be arrested by ICE or an LEA (legal enforcement agent), like local or state police. This arrest will usually take place when an undocumented person has been pulled over for a traffic violation, at which time their immigration status is discovered. 

After an LEA has arrested a non-citizen that cannot prove their documentation, ICE may be contacted. Sometimes, after a person is arrested and the LEA enters their information into the system, ICE is signaled about the database entry. In either case, ICE may request that the LEA interview the person and detain them in their facility until an ICE proceeding can be held. 

Are immigrants less likely to get bail?

An undocumented immigrant is not as likely to have the funds, or access to funds, to obtain immigration bail bonds. There are agencies and groups that offer help to these immigrants, but they have limited funds, and aren’t always able to help when asked. 

What are the types of immigration bonds?

There are two types of immigration bail bonds: 

  • The Voluntary Departure Bail Bond: These types of immigration bail bonds are given to undocumented immigrants that have agreed to leave the country at their own expense within a certain time frame. Voluntary Departure Bail Bonds can be granted prior to the start of or completion of removal proceedings.
  • The Delivery Bond: These immigration bail bonds are similar to standard bail bonds for other crimes and temporarily release the detainee on the condition they appear at all mandated court appearances.

What happens after immigration bail?

Once immigration bail bonds have been paid in full, the detained immigrant is usually released the same day and allowed to return to their local home until their immigration hearing. This leads to another question – how much is immigration bail?

The amount of immigration bail bonds is determined by either ICE or an immigration judge. The amount can vary based on the following factors: 

  • The immigration status of the detainee
  • The employment status of the detainee
  • The criminal history of the detainee
  • Family ties in this country

The typical minimum amount for an immigration delivery bond is $1,500. However, depending on various risk factors, a judge can raise immigration bail bonds to $10,000 or higher. The higher the judge sees the detainee to be a flight risk, the higher the bond is set. A Departure Immigration Bail Bond will cost a minimum of $500. 

Can you bail someone out of immigration detention?

Because there isn’t a flat rate for immigration bail bonds, and the amount is based on the facts we listed above, bail cannot be obtained until ICE or an immigration judge has set the bail amount. ICE can release a detainee on their own personal recognizance, in which case immigration bail bonds aren’t necessary. 

Will immigration bail bond companies refund immigration bail bonds? 

No – immigration bail bonds are refunded by the Debt Management Center, and the process can take upwards of two to three months. It is important to follow the process set in place on how to get immigration bail bond back. Once the person detained has completed all the immigration bail bond requirements, including hearings and deportation orders, ICE will send Form I-391 (immigration bond cancellation) to the person that obtained the bond and a copy to the Department of Homeland Security, which acts as the Debt Management Center.

When the obligor (the person that obtained the bond) receives Form I-391, the form and other materials must be sent to the Debt Management Center. The other materials include: 

  • Form I-305 (or if that form has been lost, you may replace it with Form I-395 that has been notarized)
  • Form I-391 (the notice)
  • A copy of Form I-352 (the bond contract)
US flags in a row

In Closing 

Immigration bail bonds and hearings can be confusing. The aid of an immigration attorney is recommended, but not all immigrants can afford this type of help. For them, there are groups and organizations that provide help at no charge. However, they have a long waiting list and limited funding. Fortunately, by working with a company offering immigration bail bonds you can usually gain some insight to help you through the process.

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