WHILE AWAITING ADJUDICATION
Immigration is a hot topic at the moment. Reducing the number of illegal immigrants in America was one of President Trump’s main pledges and he’s doubled down on this since taking office.
As a result if you or one of your loved ones has come to the country illegally, you could find yourself at the mercy of ICE – the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, whose reputation has recently been slighted by negative headlines.
If so then understanding U.S immigration bonds is important, as it could be one way of ensuring you or your loved ones spend the least amount of time in detention centers.
Here’s what you need to know about immigration bond requirements.
How Illegal Immigrants Are Processed
Illegal immigrants are arrested and placed into federal custody. They are then handed over to ICE. After detention, it is up to an immigration judge to decide if they are eligible to be released from custody pending a trial.
At a trial, you or your loved one will have the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty.
You or loved ones will only be given the opportunity to purchase a departure immigration bond if the judge determines you are not a threat to national security or a danger to members of the public.
Delivery Bonds vs Voluntary Departure Bonds
Immigration bail bonds come in two varieties and each has its own merits, depending on the circumstances. Here is the cost of these bonds.
Whether you or your loved one qualifies for a delivery bond depends on the ruling of an immigration judge.
A delivery bond is for someone who has been detained by ICE but wishes to stay in the country in order to fight their case in court. The payment is supposed to ensure the arrested person attends their court hearings without absconding. Failure to do so will lead to you or your loved one forfeiting their delivery bond.
There is also a voluntary departure bond if you or a loved one is happy to leave the country, voluntarily. This means they have to pay for their own costs to leave including transport by a specific date.
If you or your loved one successfully leaves the country then the bond is repaid in full; if for some reason they decide to stay then the bond is forfeited.
How Much Does An Immigration Bond Cost?
The minimum cost of an immigration cost is relatively reasonable: $1,500 for a delivery bond and $500 for a voluntary departure bond. But the judge has the final say in determining what the rate should be.
Ways to Pay
There are many schemes in place in order to allow you or your loved one to help fund the cost of an immigration bond. A surety bond is when you or your loved one cannot pay the bond in full and must work with a bondsman to recoup the cost.
The actual upfront cost of the surety bond is a lot less than the upfront cost of the bond itself and there are a variety of credit options including credit cards and cheques.
Paying the bond in full is called a cash bond and can be paid directly to immigration services.
A bondsman will keep the upfront fee you pay them and so is non-refundable, but you or your loved one does not have to find a lot of money up-front. Paying a cash bond means that you have to find the upfront cost, but if you stick to the rules and show up to court on time all of this money will eventually be refunded.
Who Can Pay?
An immigration bond can be paid by anyone with a valid ID who is over the age of 18. They must fill in the paperwork and are known as an obligor.
There is no need for the person who pays the bond on your behalf to be a family member or friend; it can be any member of the public as long as they have a valid ID.
Not Showing Up for Court
If you or your loved ones pay the bond but then do not show up for a court appearance or do not leave the country by the date specified then you or your loved one will be treated as a criminal.
A warrant will be put out for their arrest and they will lose the cost of the bond.
Getting Your Money Back
Once the immigration process has been completed and the trial has determined whether you or your loved one must leave the country, it is relatively easy to get the bond money returned.
The obligant must fill in Form I-391 (Notice Immigration Bond Cancelled) and send this to ICE. ICE should then send back a Form I-305 (Receipt of Immigration Officer) confirming that the bond has been paid back.
U.S Immigration Bonds Can Be a Lifeline
U.S immigration bonds can really help you or your loved ones out of a tricky situation and can ensure they do not spend months in a detention center, awaiting trial.
It is clear that a detention center can be a horrible experience and is best avoided. Finding the funds for a bond in order that you or your loved one can live in peace at home in the lead-up to a trial is the preferred option.
In order to make this a reality, you must first convince a judge that you or your loved one is not likely to be a risk to the public or national security nor are they likely to abscond.
If you’re interested in more stories and tips about immigration, keep reading our blog.