Over the past couple of years immigration issues have been thrust into the limelight. Internationally we’ve seen European governments buckling under the strain of massive influxes from the Middle East and Africa. While on the national scene the question of how to deal with those in the country illegally has divided the nation along sometimes bitter partisan lines. Many people in Denver know of, employ or may even have started families with undocumented aliens. Sometimes, however, those persons are arrested, at which time their undocumented status is revealed. The question then often becomes: do they have the right to contact a bondsman?

Immigration Bonds

Immigration Bail Bonds: How They Work

If your friend, loved one, employee, father, mother or anyone else has been arrested in Adams County, Broomfield County or Weld County and revealed to be in the country illegally they may well be eligible for an immigration bond in order to obtain release until their scheduled court appearance. Not every undocumented person is eligible for an immigration bond however, and the below list gives you a general idea of who isn’t.

Who is Not Eligible for an Immigration Bond?

Those who fall into one of the following categories will likely not be eligible for an immigration bond:

  • Those detained by immigration officers while attempting to enter the United States via an airport, land-based border crossing or beach.
  • Those with prior convictions for moral turpitude. Examples of moral turpitude include rape, child molestation, robbery and solicitation of prostitutes.
  • Those who have been convicted of other felonies including drug trafficking, murder, human trafficking, money laundering, terrorism, fraud, burglary or obstruction of justice.
  • Those with prior firearms convictions.

Keep in mind that this is not a comprehensive list and that at the end of the day the decision on bail rests with the judge in the case. In the US, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, is the organization tasked with arresting and detaining foreign nationals. ICE is allowed fairly broad discretion when it comes to releasing illegals on their own recognizance. Although their decision can be overturned by an immigration judge. In any case, if the person of interest to you has been arrested and an immigration bond amount set you need to know your options.

The Two Types of Immigration Bonds

There are two kinds of immigration bonds available to undocumented aliens being held by ICE who don’t fall into one of the prohibited categories outlined above. They are:

  • The Delivery Bond - If a person detained by ICE has received an arrest warrant along with a notice of custody they may be eligible for a Delivery Bond. The Delivery Bond - like standard bail for American citizens - is designed to ensure that the accused shows up for all subsequent legal proceedings, including immigration hearings. A person released on a Delivery Bond is allowed to resume their life, spend time with family and consult an immigration lawyer who will represent them during their case.
  • The Voluntary Departure Bond - In some cases ICE will deport an undocumented alien. In other cases they may be given the option of leaving the country of their own accord by a specific date. The Voluntary Departure Bond allows an individual to wrap up their business in the United States before exiting the country at their own expense by a specified deadline. If they leave the country on time as agreed the Voluntary Departure Bond is returned to them. If they fail to leave by the specified date the bond is forfeited.

What is the Cost of an Immigration Bond?

The cost of the Immigration Bond will be set by ICE or an immigration judge based on the specifics of the case. In general they tend to run between $1,500 and $10,000. The exact amount will depend on the crime the person is accused of, their criminal history (if any), whether they are employed and whether they have family ties in the United States. Basically, the greater the flight risk the higher the cost of the immigration bond.

How to Obtain an Immigration Bond

  • Cash- The friends, family, employer or other concerned person can pay the entire bond amount directly to ICE. Payment is accepted in a variety of forms including cash, bank check, money order or US treasury bonds. If the person attends all mandatory hearings they’ll be eligible to get that money back. Likewise, if they leave the country as agree under the Voluntary Departure Bond agreement the money will be returned to them or whoever put it up.
  • Surety- The friends or family of the detainee can work with a bail bonding agent who deals in immigration bonds to arrange a surety bond. The bondsman will usually take 15-20% of the bond total as commission and a lien will be placed on the collateral offered by the friends or family. Should the accused meet all of the requirements of release and make all their court appearances, or if they exit the country as agreed, any liens on collateral will be removed.