If your friend or family member has been picked up by ICE officers (even if not necessarily an illegal immigrant), he or she will be taken to an immigration detention facility. If eligible for and able to post an immigration bond, he/she will be released during the removal proceedings. Our first-hand experience as immigration attorneys has shown that these removal proceedings can last a very long time, so it is highly recommended that anyone facing deportation post an immigration bond if at all possible.
Many clients with criminal convictions, however, are not eligible for release on immigration bond and will therefore be detained until the completion of removal proceedings. Mandatory detention provisions apply to the following persons who are released from physical custody after October 9, 1998:
- Persons who are inadmissible by reason of having committed any offense covered in the criminal grounds of inadmissibility
- Persons who are subject to deportation for having committed two or more crimes involving moral turpitude (CMT)
- Persons who are subject to deportation for an aggravated felony
- Persons who are subject to deportation for a drug offense
- Persons who are subject to deportation for a firearm offense
- Persons who are subject to deportation for security-related crimes
- Persons who are subject to deportation for having committed a CMT for which the actual sentence of imprisonment is one year or more
- Persons who are subject to deportation for involvement in terrorist activity
The mandatory detention provisions do not apply to the following:
- Persons who are deportable for having committed one CMT for which the actual sentence of imprisonment is less than one year
- Persons who are deportable for a domestic violence-related offense
Once the individual has been transferred into ICE custody they will be given an A Number (a tracking number). They will also be allowed to make phone calls and may be eligible for a family visit. When you contact First Choice Immigration Bail Bonds we will ask you for the A number.
Removal Proceedings & the ICE / DHS Investigation
ICE officers interview hundreds of thousands of individuals that are encountered annually within the United States to determine citizenship and legal vs. illegal immigration status. Over the last four years more than a million people have passed through ICE detention facilities. During Fiscal Year 2007 alone, more than 322,000 illegal aliens passed through ICE detention facilities and approximately 280,000 of those were deported from the Unites States following removal proceedings.
ICE / DHS investigations can only last up to 48 hours (weekends and holidays excluded). A typical interview can will take between 25 and 35 minutes and the immigration officer will check various databases such as the Deportable Alien Control System (DACS) in order to help determine whether to begin the deportation process.
When a noncitizen is arrested, a determination should be made within 48 hours (1) whether the person is to be kept in custody or released on bond, and (2) whether an arrest warrant for the person will be issued and whether he or she will be issued a Notice to Appear (NTA). The decision whether to keep the person in custody or to release the person should be documented on Form I‑286 (Notice of Custody Determination), and the officer who makes the decision should note on the form the time and date that he or she made the decision.
The ICE officer should also note on the I‑286 whatever immigration-related charge the officer believes reasonably applies to the detained person, including the provision of the INA under which the charge would be brought. The completed I‑286 should then be served on the detained person within 48 hours of the time the person was arrested.
Once ICE decides to process an individual for removal proceedings, they must issue a Form I-862, Notice to Appear (NTA) in removal proceedings. The Notice will generally list the allegations on which any charge that the individual is subject to removal is based, list a date for an initial removal hearing and inform the person of their rights to competent translation, immigration attorney representation and fundamental fairness in the proceedings.
The Deportation Process & the Role of Immigration Bonds
Like state and federal bonds, immigration bonds are designed to guarantee the appearance of the detainee at all removal hearings before the Immigration Court. Immigration bonds are immediately forfeited (given up) if the detainee does not appear for a required hearing.
Not all detainees are allowed to be released on bond. On the basis of possibly illegal immigration status and/or criminal history, certain persons may be subject to mandatory detention. A person subject to mandatory detention must fight against deportation from inside detention.
Generally persons who are not “arriving aliens,” criminals, or terrorists are allowed to apply for a bond.
Usually when you are taken into custody by ICE, your bond will be set by ICE. Sometimes ICE may release you on your own “recognizance.” This means you do not have to pay a bond. Even if you did not have to pay a bond to be released, you must show up for all hearings before the Immigration Court.
If ICE does not set a bond for you, you can apply for a bond determination hearing with an Immigration Judge. You do not have to wait for ICE to issue a Notice to Appear (NTA)—you can apply for a bond as soon as you are taken into custody.
If ICE sets your bond in an amount that you think is too high, you can apply for a bond redetermination hearing with an Immigration Judge. But you should be careful and consult with an immigration lawyer before asking for this hearing, since the Immigration Judge may reset your bond in an amount higher than the one set by ICE.
In determining the amount of your bond, the Immigration Judge usually looks at these things:
- Your family ties in the United States;
- Your criminal history;
- Your employment;
- Your financial ability to pay a bond;
- Your membership in community organizations;
- How you came to, and how long you have been in, the United States;
- Whether you have committed any immoral acts or participated in subversive activities; and
- Your eligibility for relief from removal.
The Immigration Judge is not allowed to set a bond below $1,500.00. This means that if a bond is set for you, it will be at least $1,500.00. After the Immigration Judge sets your bond (or decides that you are not eligible for bond), you may appeal the Immigration Judge’s decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals.
If, after your bond redetermination hearing, you still disagree with your bond amount, you can apply for another bond redetermination hearing. However, you can only apply for another bond redetermination hearing if your circumstances have significantly changed since your prior bond redetermination hearing.
Your bond case is separate from your immigration case. However, even if you get released on bond, you must show up for all hearings before the Immigration Court.
It is important for you to understand that a bond hearing does not stop your immigration case. No matter what the judge decides in your bond case, and whether or not you appeal that decision, your immigration case and removal proceedings continue. For example, if you have an immigration (or “removal”) hearing scheduled for two days from now, and at a bond hearing today, the judge sets a bond in your case, you will still have an immigration hearing (“removal hearing”) two days from now, as long as your bond has not been paid by then. If you pay your bond and give the judge a paper asking to have your immigration case continued at a different location (near where you live in the United States), you will not have an immigration hearing two days from now, but you will have another immigration hearing in the near future.
Once a judge makes a decision about your bond, the decision is final. You do have the right to appeal unless the judge made a legal mistake.