A person who is detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may be eligible for release upon payment of a bond. A bond is an amount of money paid as collateral for the release of a person from custody. The bond guarantees the court that the person will appear for upcoming court proceedings. If the person fails to appear to any court proceeding, the bond will be forfeited.
Requesting a Bond Hearing
A bond hearing may be requested orally in the first scheduled court appearance also known as the Master Calendar Hearing. A request may also be made by a written motion to the Immigration Judge (IJ). In order to quickly submit a well-prepared motion, it is generally advised to obtain an experienced immigration attorney.
Bond eligibility varies from case to case. In determining whether a person should be released on bond, the IJ considers several factors, including the person’s criminal record and current status in the U.S. The IJ also considers the likelihood of the detainee returning to future court proceedings.
Under mandatory detention, an IJ does not have authority to grant a bond order to any detained individual who has entered the U.S. unlawfully, has engaged in activities that threaten U.S. national security, or has engaged in crimes of violence, fraud, theft, and the like.
Bond Hearing Process
Once in custody, transportation arrangements are made for individuals to attend their bond hearing. Assuming the detained individual is at a facility with an immigration court onsite, that person will be physically present during the proceeding. Alternatively, the detained person may expect to be transported to an available immigration court or connected to the bond hearing through a video call.
While handcuffs and shackles are not used during the bond hearing, federally issued clothing and shoes will be worn. The security guards will monitor and direct the person to their designated seats. The person detained is only allowed to communicate with their attorney. If no counsel is present, the detainee is only allowed to speak directly to the judge.
Ultimately, the IJ will decide whether the detainee is a flight risk, or a danger to society. Factors considered when determining whether an individual is a flight risk includes family ties, employment, and living arrangements. As mention before, an IJ heavily weighs an individual’s criminal record. If no criminal record exists, it is important to emphasize an individual’s good character.
Final Bond Order
Assuming the IJ granted the bond order, and specified the amount, the person’s Master Calendar Hearing will be rescheduled to a later date. During that time, the individual is expected to pay the bond amount in order to be released. Once released, the person’s future court proceedings will be changed to an immigration court near their home address. Again, attendance of all future court proceedings is critical. If the bond has not been paid by the next court proceeding, the person will continue to be in custody.
In order to increase your chances at a bond hearing, you are strongly encouraged to seek the help of a competent immigration attorney. Attorneys at Theus Law Offices have been successful at having their clients released on bond, and can assist you with every step of this process.