WHAT IS A BOND?
The bond is what immigration asks for as a guarantee that you will attend all of your hearings. You are promising that, if they release you from detention, you will go to all your court hearings and do what the judge orders you to do—even if that includes being deported. Remember, if you get out of detention on bond it is not the end of your deportation case. You will still need to go to all your court dates. If you miss even one hearing, you will likely be ordered deported without the chance to give evidence to the Judge or ask for permission to stay in the U.S. The bond money will be lost.
ICE usually assigns detainees a bond amount by 2:00pm on the day the detainee arrives with ICE. Bond amount varies depending on each case. The immigration bond must be paid in full before a detainee can get out of custody. The detainee usually knows his bond amount by 2 p.m. and is usually allowed to call a family member to tell them.
AM I ELIGIBLE FOR A BOND?
A detainee is eligible for a bond when they prove that they are NOT a danger to the community and are NOT at flight risk. In some cases, a detainee is not eligible for a bond, for instance due to certain criminal convictions or because they have already been deported in the past. In other cases, ICE refuses to give a bond to detainees who they think are not cooperating with them by answering their questions. The detainee should talk to their pro bono immigration lawyer about this before their first hearing to find out if he/she is eligible for bond.
HOW TO ASK FOR A BOND HEARING
ICE may give paperwork with a bond amount or the words “no bond.” The detainee can ask the judge to give a bond hearing and consider setting a bond or lowering the amount that ICE gave. There are a few ways to ask for a bond hearing:
- Tell the judge at your first hearing that you’d like a bond hearing as soon as possible. Bond hearings are totally separate from your deportation hearings, even though you will be presenting your bond case to the same judge who considers your deportation case. If you ask for a bond hearing when you’re at court, the judge will usually give you a hearing in the coming days or weeks. To ask for this hearing you will have to check the following in the “Notice of Custody Determination” document:
- Write the judge a bond hearing request letter. Be sure to include your name, A-number, and your request to have a bond hearing as soon as possible. This letter should be sent to: Immigration Court, 1 Federal Drive, suite 1850, Fort Snelling, MN 55111
If you’re hearing is scheduled very quickly and you are still gathering evidence, you can tell the Judge you are waiting for more letters and you want to reschedule the bond hearing to give you more time to get the documents you need. This may be a good idea as it is best to be prepared for your bond hearing.
WHAT TO BRING TO BOND HEARING:
“Sponsor Letter”: This is an important document that you can give the judge. The sponsor should write a letter that includes:
- How the sponsor knows the detained person.
- What legal immigration status the sponsor has (needs to be U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident). The sponsor should also attach proof of their immigration status to the letter.
- An address where the detainee and the sponsor will live. This has to be a street address, not a P.O. Box. The sponsor must attach a piece of mail with their name and address on it to prove that they’re living at the address. They can use a phone or electric bill with their name and address on it.
- How they will support detainee if released and any other factors to indicate ties to community.
Other Supporting Documents: In order to prepare for your bond hearing, it’s your job to gather as much proof as possible to show the judge that you have strong ties to the community and that you won’t commit any crimes if you’re released. These documents may also be useful for your case beyond the bond hearing. The following are examples of good evidence:
- Any evidence that you are eligible or have a strong case for relief from deportation (I-130 approval notice, evidence of past persecution, etc.)
- Proof that my close relatives have legal status in the United States (Birth Certificates of US Citizens, Legal Permanent spouse, parent, children)
- Tax Records
- Letters of support from as many family members as possible (including drawings from children) and a copy of the identification of the person who wrote the letter
- Letters of support from friends and a copy of the identification
- Letters from people who know me (neighbors, landlord, employer, religious leader, etc.)
- Letters showing community involvement (church, volunteering)
- A letter from you reflecting on why you want to stay in the US
- Proof of financial support my family (rent receipt, child support)
- Letters from religious organizations I belong to
- Photos of family (birthday parties, holidays, pets, babies, etc.)
- Certificates from Rehabilitation Programs
- Informational Pamphlets on rehabilitation programs in my area (domestic violence, alcohol or drug abuse, anger management)
- Social Security Records
- Evidence of property ownership<
- Certificates, diplomas, awards, etc.
- Copies of my medical records and my close relatives
- Copy of my marriage certificate
- Proof of any debt that I have (mortgage, car loans, medical, etc.)
- Proof of insurance (car, medical, etc.)
- Evidence of service in the armed forces
- Letters from counselors or doctors, describing health problems or trauma showing impact on detainee if he/she was deported.
Make sure that each person writing a letter includes a copy of their identification with the letter, including a driver’s license, a permanent resident card, or a passport.
If the letters aren’t in English, you’ll need to translate them and include the “Certificate of Translation” that’s at the end of this packet.
Ideally, you should make three copies of all original documents. One copy will go to the judge. The other copy will go to the government attorney. You’ll keep the third packet for you. You can either mail your packet to the government attorney and the judge or bring it with you to your hearing.
HOW TO POST A BOND
If you need to post a bond, payments will only be accepted in the following forms:
- BANK CERTIFIED/CASHIER’S CHECK
- BANK/POSTAL MONEY ORDER (Bonds over $10,000 must be paid with certified check)
Make ONE check or money order payable to:
IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT
- Credit cards
- Personal checks
- Money orders from sources other than the U.S Post Office or a bank.
You MUST provide your social security number or Tax ID numbers as well as a proper ID in order to post a bond.