Immigration Bonds

Kelli Allen

If you have been detained by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), you will generally be required to pay a bond if you wish to be released from custody while awaiting your immigration removal hearing. Immigration bonds are set by an immigration judge and are completely separate from bonds set by criminal court judges.

If you are arrested on criminal charges, your criminal bond is set by a state or federal judge or magistrate. Payment of this bond only secures your release from the state or local authorities. If you are an alien, you will likely be released into the custody of ICE who will detain you until your immigration court proceedings are resolved. Release from ICE custody requires posting a separate immigration bond. The amount of the bond depends on numerous factors, including the alleged grounds for removal, criminal history, family situation, and ties to the community. The bond set must be at least $1500.

The first option is to request the immigration bond from ICE. If ICE is willing to set a reasonable bond, you may decide to post that bond. Otherwise it will be necessary to request a bond hearing from the immigration judge. Securing an immigration bond from the court requires precision timing because the immigration judge only has jurisdiction to set a bond if the alien is in ICE custody AND physically present within the court's jurisdiction. Within 48 hours of the time the state bond is posted, ICE will taken custody. Since ICE moves detainees quickly, it is important to contact your immigration attorney before posting the criminal bond so that appropriate arrangements can be made for a timely immigration bond hearing.

Unfortunately, there are times when an immigration bond is not available because mandatory detention is required. A detainee is subject to mandatory detention if he is:

  • Subject to a prior removal order
  • Inadmissible due to having committed certain criminal offenses (crimes involving moral turpitude* or 2 or more offenses for which the total confinement was 5 years or more)
  • Known or believed to be a controlled substance trafficker
  • Deportable due to commission of certain criminal offenses (aggravated felony, drug offense, firearms offense or 2 or more crimes involving moral turpitude*)
  • Committed a crime involving moral turpitude* with at least a 1 year sentence
  • Involved in terrorist activity

*Examples of crimes involving moral turpitude include: aggravated assault, child or spousal abuse, assault on a female, kidnapping, robbery, and manslaughter.

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