If you are familiar with the bond process that criminal defendants use to secure their release from jail until their trial begins, it may seem reasonable to assume that a similar process occurs for immigrants detained by ICE. Unfortunately, restrictions on bond eligibility are often much stricter for undocumented immigrants and lawful permanent residents than they are for U.S. citizens.
Depending on your circumstances, the immigration bond hearing process in Wheaton can be extremely complicated—or even available. Anyone who has been detained or had a family member detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should speak with an immigration lawyer as soon as possible to ensure they understand their legal options when it comes to posting bond.
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, immigrants with prior criminal records are often ineligible for bond if they are later detained by ICE. Specifically, if an immigrant was released from jail after October 8th, 1998 for a conviction related to an aggravated felony, drug or firearm offense, Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude, or certain other offenses, mandatory detention may be required until their trial date.
The circumstances under which detained immigrants cannot receive bond may vary depending on whether a detained individual is a lawful permanent resident or an undocumented immigrant, as well as how and when they were detained by ICE. If an ICE agent decides a detainee in Wheaton is not eligible for an immigration bond hearing, the only way they can get one is by asking for what is known as a “Joseph Hearing”, during which they could argue before a judge that they are not eligible for mandatory detention under current U.S. law.
When they are first detained, immigrants in ICE custody will receive an I-286 notice that clarifies whether they will be eligible for bond. If this form declares, detainees have three options for requesting an immigration bond hearing: checking the specific box on the I-286 that indicates their desire for an Immigration Judge to review their case, verbally asking for a bond hearing at their first court date, or petitioning the Chicago Immigration Court through a written motion.
If a bond hearing is granted initially or upon a detainee’s request, the detained individual should be prepared to present evidence proving that they are not a flight risk and that their release would not constitute a danger to their community. Evidence which could support these arguments include educational credentials, income and tax documentation, certificates showing successful completion of programs like drug rehabilitation or probation, and written and oral testimony from neighbors, employers, and family members.
If released on bond, a detained immigrant must attend all required court dates, refrain from any further criminal activity, and summarily leave the United States if ordered to do so at the end of their case. If all these requirements are fulfilled, they will get their bond money back once their case concludes.
Bond hearings can be complex endeavors under even the best of circumstances—and being detained by ICE rarely qualifies as such. Depending on the circumstances, you may need significant help convincing an immigration judge to grant you a reasonable bond amount, or even getting a bond hearing in the first place.
Guidance from legal counsel is almost always essential to achieving successful outcomes from the Wheaton immigration bond hearing process. To talk about your legal options and start preparing for your hearing, call today to set up a consultation with a compassionate legal advocate.