Please Release Me....Bond Determination

By:  Dennis E. Chua, Esq.

We hear stories about agents of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducting dawn raids on private residences and business establishments looking for criminal aliens and visa violators.  Many individuals who happen to be in that area and are not even the target of these raids have been included in these immigration sweeps.  These sweeps have resulted in the arrest and detention of non-citizens of the United States

Pertinent US laws provide that on a warrant issued by the Attorney General through ICE, a non-citizen may be taken into custody and detained pending a decision on whether the non-citizen is to be removed from the United States. 

Detention of non-citizens by ICE has become the country’s fastest growing form of incarceration of individuals.  The Associated Press has reported that nationwide,  deportations jumped to more than 387,000 in the same period  – an increase of 65 percent over the previous year. 

Once the non-citizen is taken into custody and detained, ICE will begin processing the non-citizen for removal.  ICE shall issue a Notice to Appear which is a document informing the non-citizen of the immigration charges against him and that he needs to appear before an immigration judge for a removal hearing.

The person detained may be released from ICE custody after posting the requisite bond.  However, not all persons detained can be released from ICE custody.  Some individuals will be subject to mandatory detention and therefore cannot be released on bond or recognizance.  

The local district office where the individual is detained makes the initial custody and bond determination.  If the non-citizen shows that he or she is not a danger to the community or a flight risk, the district office may set bond at the minimum which is $1,500.  There are instances where the district office can release the person at his own recognizance.

If the local office does not make a bond determination and the person detained is not released, the non-citizen may request for a bond determination before the Immigration Court to obtain his release.  

The non-citizen may also request for a bond re-determination before the Immigration Court to ease the conditions of the release or to lower the bond set by the local office. 

There are two ways for friends and family members of the person detained to post bond.  They may either pay the full amount in the form of a money order or cashier’s check directly to the Department of Homeland Security or go through an authorized bond or surety company.  These companies usually require a fee of 10% of the bond amount which is non refundable and a home with sufficient equity.

The bond is set to guarantee the appearance of the non-citizen in all hearings before the immigration court.  If the individual fails to appear, the bond will be forfeited.

As an alternative to detention or the release of an individual on bond, the non-citizen may be subjected to ICE’s Intensive Supervision Appearance Program or ISAP.  Under this program, ICE monitors participating individuals using the following methods: telephone reporting, radio frequency, global positioning system (GPS), and unannounced home visits. 

Requesting for bond determination is only the beginning of the individual’s removal process.  The individual must therefore know his rights and the reliefs that may be available to him in order to fight his removal in proceedings.

Atty.  Dennis E. Chua is a partner in The Law Firm of Chua Tinsay and Vega (CTV) -  a full service law firm with offices in San Francisco, San Diego and Manila.  The information presented in this article is for general information only and is not, nor intended to be, formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship.   The CTV attorneys will be holding regular free legal clinics at the Max’s Restaurant in Vallejo, California.  Call or e-mail CTV for an in-person or phone consultation to discuss your particular situation and/or how their services may be retained at (415) 495-8088; (619) 955-6277;
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