Immigration Bonds and Collateral – How Does That Work?
Your friend or family member was picked up and is being held in an immigration detention center by ICE and you’ve been asked to help them with obtaining an immigration bond. Your first question will most likely be “Well, how do immigration bonds even work?”
Immigration bonds do have some similarities to county bonds but there are some differences as well. For example, county bonds are set by a magistrate or judge in that particular county. County judges are not able to set immigration bonds because immigration bonds are set at the Federal level. Which is why a person can originally be arrested for a county charge, but then subsequently be placed on an ICE hold even after the county bond has been paid.
When this happens, depending on the detention facility, the detainee may be moved to a different location once their county bond has been paid. For instance, in most Texas county jails, when a person has an ICE hold, they will be transferred to an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Field Office for their immigration bond hearing. After the hearing, and depending on the outcome of that hearing, the detainee will be transferred to a detention center where they will remain until either an immigration bond is posted (if they were granted a bond), or they are deported from the United States.
The other difference between immigration bonds and county bonds is that county bonds are based on specific instances of someone breaking the law, whereas immigration bonds are for when someone is detained for being in the United States without the proper paperwork
This can happen when someone intentionally enters the country illegally or when someone enters the country legally, but overstays time limit. For example, someone enters the country legally with a student visa. That visa provides for the person to be in the US for 4 years as long as they are attending school. Once the 4 years is up, they are required to either leave the country or submit additional paperwork that would allow them additional time. If the paperwork isn’t submitted in a timely manner, it could trigger an arrest where the detainee will need to post an immigration bond.
How Much Do Immigration Bonds Cost?
Like county bonds, immigration bond amounts are set based on the circumstances of each particular incident. The ICE official will set the bond amount based on that individual’s criminal history, community ties, any previous immigration bonds and any other information available. The fee for posting an immigration bond is 15%, which is nonrefundable and fully earned once the detainee is released from their ICE hold. For example, if an immigration bond is $10,000.00 the fee would be $1,500.00.
Do Immigration Bail Bonds Require Collateral?
Yes. All immigration bonds require collateral. Immigration bonding companies have varying policies on what they will accept as collateral. Most all companies will accept real property (house, land, condo, commercial building, etc.). But beware, because some states, like Texas, will not allow property that is homesteaded to be used as collateral. Some companies will also allow cosigners to use credit cards, vehicles and other items as collateral.
The collateral will be held as a guarantee to ensure the defendant appears for all court hearings and also that they abide by the final decision of the court. Once the case is concluded, and proof can be shown that the defendant abided by the courts decision – even if that decision was to leave the country, the collateral will be returned.
Other options in lieu of collateral may be to wear a monitoring device, either on the defendant’s leg or wrist. Sometimes this option is the best choice when families don’t have the cash or property to secure the bond.
Keep in mind that immigration bail bonds are generally for people who have been in the United States for a period of time and are being detained by ICE. Immigration bonds are not for individuals who are picked up because they caught coming across the boarder illegally. Those individuals are taken into custody by Federal Marshals, which are different from ICE officers.
Additionally, if the family or cosigner has the full amount of the bond, then they can pay the bond at any ICE Field Office. The payment will need to be in the form of a cashier’s check because the field offices do not accept cash or credit cards.
Requirements for the return of the collateral pay at a field office is basically the same as the requirements for retrieving collateral from and immigration bonds company – the defendant will need to complete their case and abide by whatever the courts decision may be.
If you need additional information on how the immigration bonds process works, please feel free to contact our office at 469-779-0101. Our friendly agents at United Immigration Bonds will be happy to help you get the answers you need.