Prison - Detained

Prison – Detained


If your loved one is facing removal proceedings or if your loved one is detained while waiting for the removal hearing, you may want to apply for temporary release while the removal proceedings are pending. You or your loved one may apply for release on bond.

When the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Officers arrests or detains an alien, the alien can ask to be released temporarily on the alien’s own recognizance or on the payment of a reasonable amount of bond.

In case the Department of Homeland Security refuses you or your loved one’s application for release on bond, you can ask the Immigration Court for a bond hearing.

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Court Room

Court Room

Who Can Apply for a Bond Hearing?

This article provides information for:

  • Aliens in the US who have been issued a Notice to Appear before an Immigration Court;
  • Aliens who have been arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers for violation of immigration laws and a hearing has been set for their removal;
  • Aliens with a valid non-immigrant visa to the US who have been arrested by ICE because they have committed crimes or misdemeanors while in the US;
  • Relatives of an alien who is detained and waiting for a scheduled removal and/or deportation hearing.

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Dollar - Bond - Money

Bond – Money

What is a Bond?

Posting an immigration bond is similar to posting bail when a person is arrested for a crime or misdemeanor. Removal proceedings often take years to complete. An alien who does not post bond will remain in custody during the removal proceedings, however long these take to be finally determined.

A bond is money that an alien pays to the Immigration Court to release an alien from detention temporarily while waiting for the date of the removal hearing. It is posted to secure the performance and fulfillment of the alien’s obligations to the Immigration Court.

The amount of the bond is set by the Department of Homeland Security or by the Immigration Judge. The Immigration Court will allow an alien to be released on bond on condition that the alien promises to appear for every hearing that the Immigration Court requires the alien to attend or to attend every appointment with the Department of Homeland Security.

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Detained Immigrant's Hands on Fence

Detained Immigrant’s Hands on Fence

Who Can Apply for a Bond?

Usually, a detained alien cannot post a bond. The alien must have a sponsor. The sponsor will promise the Immigration Court that:

  • The detained alien will live with them while waiting for the date of the removal proceedings;
  • The sponsor will support the alien;
  • The sponsor will ensure that the alien will attend the removal proceedings;
  • And the sponsor will surrender the alien in case the alien is ordered removed and/or deported from the US by the Immigration Court.

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Wallet - Credit Cards

Wallet – Credit Cards

Who Pays the Bond?

If an alien is detained, then they cannot pay their own bond. A relative or a close friend who stands as sponsor for the alien can pay the bond on their behalf. The sponsor must be a person the alien trusts because often, the alien will provide the funds for the bond but the bond will be paid in the name of the sponsor.

At the end of the removal proceedings, the sponsor will apply to get the bond back. If the sponsor is not a trustworthy person, the sponsor may not apply for a refund of the bond or, they may apply for a refund and just pocket the refund.

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Are all Detained Aliens Qualified for a Bond?

Unfortunately, not all aliens detained for removal proceedings qualify to post bond for their temporary release. The following are not qualified for release on bond:

  • An alien detained by ICE officers while attempting to enter the US illegally;
  • An alien who has stayed in the US unlawfully and has not gained lawful resident status;
  • An alien who is detained for having committed acts that are defined as terrorist activities;
  • An alien has been convicted of crimes that carry with it a penalty of imprisonment or mandatory detention;
  • An alien who has been convicted in the past of crimes involving moral turpitude, aggravated felonies, offenses related to drugs or controlled substances, firearms, or espionage.

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Are There Exceptions to These Disqualifications?

There are some exceptions when an alien who has been convicted of crimes can still qualify for a bond:

  • When the conviction for drug crimes involves possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana?
  • When the criminal conviction was for a petty offense and the alien committed the crime when he was a minor and five years prior to being detained for removal?
  • When the criminal conviction involved a sentence of less than one year imprisonment?

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Bond Hearing

Bond Hearing

What is a Bond Hearing?

The posting of a bond is not a right. It is not granted automatically by the Immigration Judge especially when ICE refuses to release the alien. The alien must ask the Immigration Court for a bond hearing to prove that they are entitled to be released on bond.

At the hearing, the alien must prove that they intend to cooperate with the Immigration Court and obeys its orders including leaving the United States if the alien is found removable.

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Removal Hearing - Court

Removal Hearing – Court

How is a Bond Hearing Different from the Removal Hearing?

The bond hearing is a different and separate hearing from the removal case. A bond hearing is scheduled only when the detained alien asks for a bond hearing. At the bond hearing, the judge will determine if the detained alien can be released from detention and stay in the US while the removal proceedings against the alien is being heard.

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Bond/Removal Hearings

Bond/Removal Hearings

How will the Bond Hearing Affect the Immigration Hearing for Removal?

Since the bond hearing is separate and distinct from the removal hearings, the findings of the Immigration Judge in the bond hearing does not stop or affect the outcome of the removal hearings.

If the bond hearing is not decided in the alien’s favor, the alien may appeal the decision of the Immigration Judge in the same way that the alien may appeal the decision of the Immigration Judge in the removal hearings. Those two hearings are different.

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Next Step Signage

Next Step Signage

What will Happen After the Immigration Hearing?

After the bond hearing, if the application for bond is approved, the alien will be released from detention. When the alien is released, it will be easier for the alien to confer with his or her lawyer and be free to return to his or work and enjoy the company of his or her relatives while fighting against the removal proceedings.

If the application for bond is denied by the court, the alien will stay in the detention center until the termination of the removal proceedings.

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Prove it illustration

Prove It!

What Must the Alien Prove at the Immigration Hearing?

At the bond hearing, the alien has the task of presenting evidence proving that he or she is qualified to be released on bond. The alien must produce and present information that will convince the Immigration Judge that the alien is not a danger to the community or a flight risk. The alien must also prove that they have strong evidence that they will not be deported.

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Gun - Danger to Community

Gun – Danger to Community

When is an Alien a Danger to the Community or a Flight Risk?

The alien will be considered a danger to the community if the alien

  • Has been convicted of a crime while in the US;
  • Has been deported in the past.

Alternatively, the alien can present evidence that even if they have been convicted of a crime in the past, the crime was not an aggravated felony, an act of terrorism, a crime of moral turpitude or a crime involving controlled substances.

An alien may be considered to be a flight risk if they have no ties to the community because:

  • The alien has not maintained a residence in the community;
  • The alien has not paid taxes;
  • The alien has not been involved in community activities.

Proof of ties to the community is proof that the detained alien, if released on bond, will dutifully attend all removal hearings.

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Prove Family Ties - Kids crying near parent being arrested

Prove Family Ties

What’s the Best way to Prove ties to the Community?

Family Ties

The alien must prove that members of their immediate family are in the United States and they possess lawful status in the US. An alien’s sponsor is usually a member of their family.

The family member who will act as sponsor must reside in the community and produce identification that contains their street address or proof of residence in a community through utility bills in their names and addresses.

The US citizenship of the sponsor or family member can be proved by submitting a copy of their birth certificate, marriage certificate or US Passport.

Community Involvement

The alien must show that they belong to a church or community group, or that they own property or business in the community, or that they have lived for a long time at their present address. They may prove that they own a house or a car or they are paying a mortgage on a car and a house.

Work History

The alien may present his or her employment history by providing letters of recommendation, certificates of employment or curriculum vitae that record the alien’s previous work experience. The work experience must have been gained while the alien had a work permit. If the alien has an offer of employment from an employer, then this can also be acceptable proof.

Education or Rehabilitation

If the alien has finished education or vocational programs during detention, or if the alien successfully attended a rehabilitation program, then these must be included as proof that the alien is no longer a risk to the community.

Record of Past Convictions

If the alien has been convicted of crimes in the past, then the alien must disclose all previous convictions by providing copies of judgments or certifications from the court that convicted the alien.

The certification from the court must contain a record of the crime charged, the decision or judgment of the court and the due service of any sentence imposed on the alien. This will show that the alien has not been convicted of crimes which render them unqualified for bond.

This will also show that despite conviction for crimes, the alien has turned over a new leaf and has tried to become a law abiding citizen and no longer pose a threat to the community.

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Foreign Language Book

Foreign Language Book

What if the letters I want to Submit are in a Language other than English?

If letters from past employers or family members are in a language other than English, the alien must submit translation of the documents. The alien must submit the translated documents to court and the translated copies must bear as Certificate of Translation.

The Immigration Judge will not look at documents that are not in English or that are not translated into English and signed or certified by a translator.

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Bank Note - One Dollar

Bank Note – One Dollar

How Much Bond will I pay?

The amount of bond that the alien will be required to pay must be “reasonable”. The bond cannot be any less than $1500. What is reasonable will be dictated by the circumstances and by the proof that the alien submitted to the Immigration Court.

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Certified Cashier’s Check

Certified Cashier’s Check

How can I pay the Bond?

The bond can be paid through a certified cashier’s check or a US postal money order. The alien’s sponsor must make the check or money order payable to the order of the Department of Homeland Security. The check or money order must be paid at any immigration office.

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Man with no money in pockets

Man with no money in his pockets

What if I Don’t have Enough Money to pay the Bond?

When an alien does not have sufficient money to pay a bond, the alien can approach a bond company and pay a premium. The premium is a percentage of the bond. The bond company will promise to pay the Immigration Court the entire amount of the bond if the alien fails to appear in court.

And if the alien fails to appear in court, the bonding company will bring the alien to court so that the bond will not be forfeited in favor of the government.

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Finish Line on the Road

Finish Line

What Happens When my Case is Finished?

When the removal proceedings have been terminated, the alien may be released from detention or removed from the United States. In either case, if the alien attended all the hearings at the Immigration Court and all appointments at the Department of Homeland Security, the sponsor who paid the bond can claim and refund the bond they paid.

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Have you applied for release on bond? Has ICE denied your request for release on bond? Have you asked for a bond hearing? Do you need help presenting evidence at a bond hearing? We have immigration attorneys willing and available to listen to you and help you prepare for your bond hearing. Call our office today for a consultation with any of our immigration lawyers.

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