Immigration judges have continued to issue more bail bonds in the recent past than ever before, but these bonds have become even more expensive than the typical defendant can afford. However, this presents another problem: the higher the bail amount, the more likely immigrant defendants are to remain in ICE centers, which are becoming more and more crowded by the day. This means that immigrants could remain in these centers for several months before the ICE even considers them for deportation. But why are immigration bonds becoming more expensive? We are going to discuss that below, but this is also a resource to learn more about immigration bail bonds.
The ICE is charged with deciding whether an immigrant will be detained or released before their court date long before they set foot in court. They’re also charged with determining who qualifies for bail as well as the amount of bail they should deposit. If immigrants are not satisfied with the ICE’s decisions, they can challenge this decision in court. Immigration judges and lawyers have noted that ICE has been increasing bail bond amounts, although the institution is more likely to deny them bail. This rising bail bond prices can have a profound negative effect on migrants.
Immigration bonds began becoming expensive during the Obama administration when immigration enforcement efforts began increasing. The Trump administration’s heightened border security and efforts to control and even deter immigration has exaggerated the situation, with migrants facing severe penalties and fear. Specifically, President Trump has warned against the popular “catch and release” practices that have been more lenient on immigrants, allowing those who have crossed the U.S. border illegally to walk free awaiting their court date. Even asylum seekers no longer have it easy if found to be in the country illegally. The administration has since put an end to an alternative to detention for such families and the automatic release of pregnant women.
Immigrants, including those who have managed to cross the border legally while seeking asylum, have to dig deeper into their already empty pockets to pay for higher bonds while they wait for their scheduled court dates. This is placing an increasing burden on mostly poverty-stricken individuals or those unable to access their resources to help them survive in a new country and environment. Notably, immigration bond prices have risen 50% over the last half a decade to reach a median of $7, 500. It is even tougher for some immigrants who find themselves in parts of the country that set bonds prices between $10, 000 and $15, 000, which already struggling immigrants are unable to afford.
For struggling individuals, a $10, 000 bail bond might as well seem like a million dollars. The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse estimates that about 40% of immigrants post $10, 000 or more bail bond while 5% have their bail bond set at a rate as expensive as $25, 000. The typical criminal court system is designed in such a manner that an individual seeking to get out of jail pending his or her court hearing has to raise 10% of the bond amount and the bail bond company guarantees the remaining amount. However, immigrants have it different in the federal immigration courts, as they have to raise the full amount.
Immigration bonds are becoming even more expensive for detained immigrants due to stringent measures to lock migrants out of the U.S. Even asylum seekers who are in the country legally have to pay higher bond prices despite being individuals who are already struggling.