Volunteers may encounter individuals who have an opportunity to be released from immigration detention on bond. This post provides a brief background to bond requests, links to resources, and a cautionary note about bond scams.
Bond is granted by a court (an immigration judge), not by ICE. However, not everyone is eligible for bond, like asylum-seekers who presented themselves at a port of entry (see post on parole requests for those who are not eligible for bond). As with a parole request, a person seeking release on bond has to establish 3 things:
- Their identity
- That they are not a flight risk
- That they are not a danger to the community
As much as we would like to assist someone craft their bond request, because as visitor volunteers we are not licensed lawyers or legal representatives, we cannot do this. It can be tough to find an attorney in our area, especially for those individuals without resources. As volunteers, we can direct individuals who are representing themselves to pro se resources to help them assemble the materials they need to ask for release on bond. The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project based in Arizona is a good resource for pro se materials (in both Spanish and English). Also check the Rocky Mountain Immigration Advocacy Network for self-help materials.
The minimum amount of a bond is $1,500. However, it is not unusual to see bonds in the $20,000 range. Some judges can set bonds as high as $80,000 or $100,000, making it very difficult for an individual to assemble that amount of money. High bond amounts can be challenged through a bond re-determination hearing in front of a judge, but new information has to be presented to make the case for a lower bond.
How Volunteers Can Help with Bond Requests
If a person you write to our visit is given a high bond, there are ways we can assist them. One way we can help is to make them aware of bond scams. PLEASE DISCOURAGE ANYONE TO WHOM YOU ARE WRITING OR VISITING FROM ENGAGING IN A CONTRACT FOR BOND WITH LIBRE BY NEXUS. As advocates, we want to figure out other options to help people pay a bond if they cannot afford it, especially if we hear that they are considering Libre by Nexus. There are community-based bond funds that we can look into, both nationally and locally. Crowdfunding is also a possibility for raising money. In some parts of the country there are local credit unions that are willing to provide loans to families or others who need money to bond out a loved one. We might begin looking into our local credit unions to explore that possibility.