What Can I Do?
The first question that most people ask when their family member is detained is, how can I get them released? The quick and short answer is by posting a bond.
A normal immigration bond, sometimes referred to as a delivery bond, is what most people are familiar with when they think about a bond. Unlike criminal bonds, immigration bonds are not automatically determined. Rather, the amount of the bond varies according to each case. They can range anywhere from $1,500 to $250,000.
What is the Purpose of a Bond?
The bond is posted as a guarantee that the released detainee will return for the mandatory court date. When the detainee returns to court, the detainee should be given the money back. If the detainee fails to return for the court date, the individual will likely be detained again without bond, and it may result in further charges and penalties, including deportation.
Who can Post Bonds?
Anyone may post a bond on the detainee’s behalf. Of course, there are other professional services, such as immigration bond specialists or bondsmen can post bond as well for a higher fee, and usually a co-signer is needed as well as collateral. Some bond companies require their customers to wear ankle-monitors. There may also be a monthly service charge fee in addition to percentage of the bond.
Who is Eligible?
The immigration judge determines whether the detainee is eligible for an immigration bond based upon several factors, including but not limited to the detainee’s willingness and ability to meet the conditions of the bond, as well as demonstrating that release would not pose any danger to property or other people.
Who is Not Eligible?
An immigration judge or officer may deny your request for bond based upon your prior arrival and departure record, your criminal background, and many other factors. Certain criminal convictions or charges make a detainee ineligible for bond. Sometimes, a Joseph Hearing is held to determine whether a detainee is being held properly under INA §236(c).
The bond hearing is a separate hearing from the Master Calendar Hearing and/or Individual. A detainee or his representative must request a bond hearing and submit a bond packet to the court. The judge presiding over the removal proceedings may be the same judge who presides over the bond hearing but not necessarily. Although EOIR generally disfavors limited representation, it is commonly accepted that an attorney may limit his representation solely to custody determination proceedings. This is marked on the form EOIR-28. A detainee generally has only one opportunity to be heard for a custody redetermination and a second hearing will be denied absent exceptional circumstances, even when the detainee was previously not represented by counsel.
Once a detainee proves bond eligibility, the judge will consider whether the detainee is a flight risk and whether he will be a danger to the community. Below is a list of factors that a judge considers in evaluating a detainee’s flight risk and the danger he may pose to the community at large. In addition, there are questions listed below that are commonly asked at bond hearings.
Factors a Judge Considers
- The detainee’s residence and how long the detainee has been inside the U.S.;
- The detainee’s family ties;
- The detainee’s employment history;
- The detainee’s record of appearance in court;
- The detainee’s criminal history;
- The detainee’s history of immigration violations;
- The detainee’s attempts to flee prosecution;
- The detainee’s manner of entry into the U.S.; and
- The detainee’s any potential immigration relief
What Kind of Questions Are Asked At A Bond Hearing?
- What are your family ties to the United States?
- Do you own property in the United States?
- Do you pay taxes, here in the United States?
- How do you intend to pay for the bond amount set by the court?
- How many times have you entered the United States?
- Have you ever been granted a request for Voluntary Departure?
- Are you eligible for possible relief from removal or deportation?
- What is your criminal history like?
Joseph Hearings are special appearances before an immigration judge to determine whether an individual should be mandatorily detained. When a detainee asks for a Joseph Hearing, the immigrant bears the burden of proof is establishing that he does not belong to the group of individuals that are prohibited from receiving a bond from an immigration judge.
Having an experienced immigration attorney can make all the difference in you or your loved one remaining within the custody of immigration.