It is possible that that the Immigration Court will allow the detained alien to post bond, but the obligation required will be an amount that the sponsor or relative cannot afford to pay even after the amount of bail is set at the minimum of $1500. For these situations, the relative or sponsor may find a bondsman or surety company to underwrite the bond.
What is a bondsman or a surety company?
A bondsman or a surety company is a person and/or a corporation who stands in the shoes of the alien, pays the bond of the detained alien, and promises to the immigration court that they will ensure the released alien’s presence during the removal proceedings. They will appear before the immigration court and take on the duty to ensure that the alien will appear for the removal proceedings and, if ordered removed from the US, the bondsman or surety company will ensure that the alien will comply with the removal order.
If the sponsor or close relative of the alien pays the bond from their own funds, they stand as the alien’s bondsman. They are underwriting the bond for the alien and they are obligating themselves to ensure the appearance of the alien in Immigration Court. The sponsor or relative must be at least 18 years old and they must have legal status in the US (either a legal permanent resident or a citizen). The bondsman must be able to present a valid driver’s license.
Where can I find a surety company to act as bondsman and underwrite the bond?
The US Department of Treasury keeps a list of accredited surety companies who can post bonds on behalf of a detained alien allowed to pay a bond for their temporary release. The surety company will pay the bond for the alien. The sponsor or relative of the alien will pay every year, a small percentage of the bond while the removal proceedings are afoot.
The sponsor or relative of the detained alien must provide property that can be used as collateral. The collateral is any property that the sponsor or relative of the alien can use as security for the bond. The surety company can then seize the collateral, sell it and its proceeds can be used as payment for when the alien becomes a fugitive and the bond is cancelled. If the alien faithfully attends all hearings during the removal proceedings and the bond is not cancelled, then the property used as collateral will not be seized by the surety company.
What happens when I obtain legal status after the removal proceedings?
If the alien obtains legal status after the removal proceedings, the surety company or the bondsman can apply for a refund of the bond. The small percentage of the bond that the alien or their relatives paid to the surety company every year for the duration of the removal proceedings cannot be refunded anymore. It is like “interest” paid to the surety company for underwriting the bond in full.
What is the role of the bondsman or security company?
The bondsman or surety company becomes obligated to ensure the appearance of the alien for the removal proceedings. The Immigration Court will require the bondsman or surety company to bring the alien bodily to court. If the alien fails to appear, the Immigration Court will give the bondsman or surety company a limited time to bring the alien to court before cancelling the bond.
What happens when the released alien fails to appear for the proceedings?
The Immigration Court will first order the bondsman or surety company to bring the alien before the Immigration Court. The cancellation of the bond will occur if the alien still fails to appear for the check-in at the ICE or, if the alien changes his home address without informing the Immigration Court. If the alien fails to appear for a good reason such as when they were hospitalized, then the bondsman, surety company or the alien themselves can present evidence to have the bond reinstated.
If the alien, however, fails to appear at the removal proceedings because they have voluntarily departed the US for their home country, the bond will not be cancelled. If the bond was cancelled, upon showing that the alien voluntarily departed, the bondsman or surety company may request the court to reinstate the cancelled bond and for the amount to be refunded to them.