HOW TO GET AN IMMIGRATION BOND
As Louisiana immigation bond lawyers, we get a lot of calls from relatives wondering if their relative will be able to get an immigration bond. If you have a friend or family member who has been detained by immigration, you probably have questions about whether they can get a bond. There are currenly eight immigration detention centers in Louisiana. Whether someone who is detained in an immigration detention center in Louisiana can get an immigration bond will depend on at least the following factors:
- How long they have been in the US
- What type of immigration case they might have
- How they entered the US
- Their criminal history
- Whether they have previously been deported
- Their ties to the community
Who Decides if Someone Gets an Immigration Bond
When someone without status in the US gets picked up by immigration, one of the first people they will see is a deportation officer. Quite often this happens at a local jail after the person has been arrested on a criminal charge. This also applies to some noncitizens with status in the US depending on the type of crime they are charged with. The deportation officer will usually make a decision as to whether ICE is going to put a detainer on you that requires you to be sent to immigration custody once you are no longer being held on the state criminal charge. If the officer decides not to put a detainer on you, you will not need an immigration bond. You may still need to pay a bond on your state criminal charge. It is rare that a deportation officer decides not to put a detainer on someone who is in jail on a state criminal charge.
If you’ve been arrested on a state criminal charge, you will be held in the local jail until you either pay your bond or finish your criminal case. After one of those two things happens, you will be transferred to an immigration detention facility. Once there, you will see another deportation officer. This officer has authority to give you a bond, release you on signature, release you on an ankle monitor, or to deny you a bond. If you are denied a bond, but you are eligible for a bond, you can request a bond redetermination by an immigration judge.
How do I Request an Immigration Bond
If you are eligible for a bond but the deportation officer did not give you one, you will have to request a custody redetermination with an immigration court. The request has to be made in writing. In practice, this is often done through a simple form the deportation officer givers you where you sign a line saying you have requested a custody redetermination. You will then be given a time and date to be brought to court and prove why you should get an immigration bond. This is where having a good immigration attorney can help.
Your immigration attorney will know the factors that the court is going to consider when deciding whether to give you an immigration bond and can help prepare a packet of evidence to be submitted to the court on your behalf. Your immigration attorney can also work with your family to obtain documents and letters that might persuade an immigration judge to grant your request for a bond. Your lawyer will also be there at the hearing to speak on your behalf about why you should be given a bond. Since COVID, these hearings are often done by video.
Who Cannot Get an Immigration Bond
If you are detained at the border, you will be considered an “arriving alien” and will not be eligible for a bond. The deportation officer has authority to release you on something called “parole”, but they usually do not. They seem to be more likely to release women and minor children are almost always released.
If you have previously been deported, you are not eligible for a bond. The deportation officer will instead reinstate the prior order of deportation. You may be eligible to apply for a type of immigration relief known as withholding of removal, but you will have to present your case while you are in immigration custody.
If you have been convicted of an aggravated felony or certain drug crimes, you are not eligible for an immigration bond. See our post on inadmissibility due to a criminal conviction.
An experienced immigration bond lawyer will be able to help you determine whether your loved one is eligible for a bond.
How Much is an Immigration Bond
The minimum immigration bond is $1,500. There is no limit on how high the bond can be. We usually see bonds in the range of $5,000 – $10,000. Keep in mind when the court sets a bond, the entire amount has to be paid in full with a money order or cashier’s check. So if the bond is $7,000, the full amount will have to be paid in order for the person to be released from immigration detention.
How Do You Pay an Immigration Bond
The immigration bond will have to be paid by either a US citizen or lawful permanent resident. The bond does not need to be paid at the facility where the person is located and can be paid at any bond office in the country. The government also recently started accepting bond payments online, but this may not be available in all cases. The person paying the bond will need an ID and proof of immigration status. He or she should be prepared to show a valid driver’s license and a US passport or permanent residency card. In addition, the person paying the bond will need to know the detainee’s alien registration number, birth date, and country of birth.
How Do You Get Your Immigration Bond Money Back
Once your immigration case is done, whether you win or lose, USCIS is supposed to refund the bond. The purpose of the bond was to make sure that you attended your court appearances. After your case is complete, ICE is supposed to mail a form I-391 Notice of Canceled Immigration Bond to the address that was on the original bond contract. After you get his document, you need to mail it to the department that processes the bond refunds at:
Debt Management Center
Attention: Bond Unit
PO Box 500
Williston, VT 05495-500
You need to include the original form I-305 receipt that was given to you when posted the bond. If you’ve lost the original receipt, you can send a form I-395- Affidavit in Lieu of Lost Receipt. It can take months and multiple attempts to get a bond refund from ICE.
Where Can I Get Help with an Immigration Bond
I you have a family member or friend who is detained by immigration, you should speak with an experienced immigration attorney who has handled immigration bonds. A member of our team is available to discuss the case with you and let you know the next steps to take. All of our immigration bond cases are handled on a flat fee so there are no surprises on the cost. Call us today at (225) 963-9638 to schedule a free consultation.