When an officer of Immigration and Customs Enforcement appears at your door, families go into shock trying to figure out what to do. The immigrant is taken to a local office for processing. Hours, and sometimes days go by before you learn what is happening.
Steps need to be taken immediately to obtain release of the immigrant.First, contact an attorney. Attorneys know the procedures for contacting I.C.E., how to begin the bond process, paperwork to file, and how to work through the court system.
When you receive a call from the immigrant ask these important questions:
1) How is their health. Do they need medication or prescriptions filled?
2) What is the name of the facility where they are located?
3) What is their alien number (A# located on I.C.E. forms)?
4) What is the officers name and his phone number?
The bond process is complex. Some immigrants may qualify for release if: they are married to a U.S. Citizen, they have no criminal record, and they were not previously deported from the USA.
Others may NOT be eligible for release depending on a number of factors. It is VERY important that your attorney speak with the immigrant as soon as possible. This can be done by a personal visit by the attorney at the detention center, or by having the immigrant call the attorney. Immigrants are allowed to make telephone calls to their family or their attorney.
It takes time to set a bond hearing, so you must be patient with the legal process. This can be stressful and frustrating for families. Once a hearing is scheduled, the Judge will determine if the immigrant qualifies for a bond.
Key factors to consider:
• Local family ties;
• Financial ability to post bond;
• Immoral Acts or subversive Activities;
• Membership in community organizations;
• Prior arrests, convictions and appearances.
The minimum bond is normally $1500, but could be much higher. It may be posted by a family member, the attorney, a bond company or friends. [If a bond company is used, they will post the bond for the immigrant. Collateral in the form of equity in property or cash available on credit cards will be required. A fee of 10-15% of the bond will be charged as the fee by the bond company.]
Payment must be made with a US Postal Money Orders only, and will be returned if/when the court process has been completed. Refund of monies usually takes several months.