What To Do When I or My Family Member Gets Picked Up By Immigration
This legal guide discusses the basics of what to do when a person is detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and how to obtain a bond. A consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer will be necessary. This guide will save you time and money but is no substitute for a lawyer.
Who Gets Picked Up by Immigration? Where? Why? How?There are several ways a person can come into ICE custody: 1) transferred to ICE from incarceration in State facility, while awaiting trial, after trial, or on completion of a jail sentence. 2) Random ICE arrests or sweeps. 3) After conviction of certain crimes, even if no jail time results. 4) Arrest by ICE or border patrol when attempting to enter the US illegally. 5) Arrest by immigration officials when returning to the US where there is an outstanding arrest warrant from a state criminal charge, even as a legal permanent resident and when the immigration has no idea what the criminal matter is. 6) After a prior deportation order where the immigrant has failed to leave, or returned illegally. All of these sccenarios end up with detention, but they are all very different, legally. You will have some rights in some cases that you do not have in others.
There are many criminal convictions and other legal considerations which make the detainee ineligible for a bond, or a "mandatory detainee." This means that there is no point in even asking for a bond because the immigration judge does not have the power to grant it. The more serious the crime committed, the more likely it is that the person is a "mandatory detainee." They will have to fight their case from detention
What Do I need to Help Convince the Judge To Give Me A Bond?If the person is entitled to a bond, there will usually be a delay of a couple of weeks between arrival at the detention center and the first court hearing. If the family has not had a chance to get a lawyer, n time for the first hearing, then the immigration court may allow another hearing.
The judge will consider the following in deciding whether to grant a bond: danger to the community, length of time in the community and ties to the community, e.g., employment, church, family, all criminal convictions, how likely the person is to be able to fight their deportation case if released.
If the detainee is entitled to a court hearing, his or her family and friends should begin gathering information which will be useful to present to the immigration judge in a motion to request a bond. This information includes: personal ID, letters of reference from employers or friends and family, proof of employment, copies of all criminal records, records demonstrating how long the person has been in the United States, school records, documentation regarding any serious medical condition of the detainee or his dependents.
Once you have received the Order Granting Bond from the Judge, you have some choices. You can pay the entire bond yourself to immigration, or you can seek out the help of a bonding company. The bondsman will put up the money for the bond and will charge you a fee, sometimes a large fee, usually based on a percentage of your bond amount. The bondsmen may ask for title to real estate to secure the bond. At the end of the proceedings, if you pay the bond then you will get your money back from the government. But if you use a bondsman you will not get back what you paid.
If you pay your own bond without a bondsman, you must make sure that the person who pays the bond is legally present in the United States. There are many people out there who know that detainees are in desperate need of help when they are arrested by ICE, any many families are taken advantage of. Be sure that you get legal help.
What Happens After I Get Picked Up By ICE?When ICE picks you up you will first be processed at an immigration facility and then be transferred to a detention facility. In most cases there is no opportunity to request legal help or even contact family. ICE arrests can occur at any time, in any place. Eventually, the detainee will end up in an immigration detention facility. This might be a regular jail or a dedicated immigration detention center.
At the first available opportunity, the person should contact a family member or a lawyer or have the family contact a lawyer. There are many good resources for finding a lawyer, including avvo.com. The person should always provide what is known as an "A Number" to the family or lawyer. This number is the only means of identifying the detainee "in the system."
If the Judge Grants a Bond, What Then?Immigration bonds are very expensive and can range from a minimum of $1,500 to above $20,000. You should not compare anything you might know about getting bonds from a state court judge to immigration bonds in immigration court. The legal considerations of the two courts and how they view certain crimes are very different.