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What Happens at an Immigration Bond Hearing?

Immigration issues have been dominating the news lately, especially the separation of parents and children during detention. One other legal issue that may have flown over the radar, however, is the Supreme Court decision that detained immigrants are not entitled to an immigration bond hearing.

Still, some immigration courts still conduct bond hearings. So what are they, and what should you expect at an immigration bond hearing?

Initial Bond Determinations

Not unlike bond or bail following criminal charges, a foreign national who is detained by ICE or the Department of Homeland Security can be released from custody upon payment of a bond. A bond is an amount of money paid as collateral for a person's release, as a guarantee for the person to appear for a court hearing or trials. The bond is forfeited if a person fails to appear.

Bond is generally set by DHS initially, and in some cases the foreign national can request a "bond hearing" from an immigration judge to re-determine the amount set by DHS. As we noted above, immigration courts are not required by law to provide bond hearings, but bond determinations may be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).

Requesting Bond Hearings and Redeterminations

In order to get a bond hearing, you'll need to request it, either orally at your first court appearance, or perhaps by writing on a "Notice of Custody Determination" or a letter later. And, like bond hearings in the criminal context, you need to demonstrate to the judge that you're not a flight risk, and are likely to return for your next immigration court hearing.

To do that, you can show that you have family ties in the U.S., you have connections to the community, you've retained an immigration attorney, and that you're planning on fighting your removal or deportation. You can also present evidence in court about any immigration benefits for which you might be eligible and plan on applying for if you are released.

Again, immigration bond hearings are not guaranteed. And your best chance to obtain an immigration bond hearing, and to successfully argue for bond or a bond reduction, is to contact an experienced immigration attorney.

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