Immigrants who have been detained by ICE or Border Patrol can ask the court for a bond hearing. The bond hearing is a separate legal proceeding from your immigration proceeding that determines if you should be removed from the United States. The bond hearing is held to determine if you should be kept in detention while your case is still pending. Because it can take years for removal proceedings to complete, you should try to pursue a bond if you are detained at an ICE facility.
Don’t expect that an ICE agent or immigration judge will ask if you want a bond hearing because you will have to make the request yourself. To make a formal request for an immigration bond hearing, you must submit the following things to the immigration court hearing your case:
- A written request
- Your alien registration number
- Your Notice to Appear
- The name of the facility you are detained at
You will also need to support your request for bond with a letter from a sponsor that tells the judge you have good character. You will need proof that you are eligible for immigration relief and that you have strong ties to the community. You are also allowed to make an oral request for a bond hearing when you attend your Master Calendar hearing.
Under Section 236c of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the following violations make an immigrant subject to mandatory detention, and thus ineligible for an immigration bond:
- Aggravated felonies
- Suspected terrorism
- Crimes of moral turpitude
- Possession of controlled substances (except marijuana less than 30 grams)
If a judge decides to grant your request for bond, they will set the amount and you will remain in custody until your family or friends pay it.