Since Donald Trump took office, and in the wake of SB4, more and more immigrants are being placed in detention centers in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Unfortunately, this includes immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for years, have strong family ties, and little or no criminal record.
Shortly after Trump became president in 2017, ICE launched large scale raids in the Austin and San Antonio areas, arresting more than 130 people. Following the passage of SB4 in the Texas legislature, many surrounding counties have been arresting immigrants found driving without a valid license and then turning them over to ICE. Reports of work place raids have also increased.
Learning that a loved one has been detained by immigration or arrested by local law enforcement and placed on an ICE hold can be terrifying. In addition to being subjected to prison like conditions, persons in ICE custody are also placed in removal proceedings where they must appear before an immigration judge to determine if they are going to be deported. These proceedings often last for months.
However, many people who are placed into ICE custody are eligible to apply for a bond. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act and applicable regulations, a person who is placed in removal proceedings and detained by ICE may request a bond by filing an application with the immigration judge. Once the application is filed, the immigration court will set a hearing at which the judge will determine whether to grant a bond.
The standards for obtaining an immigration bond are generally much higher than obtaining a bond to get out of jail. First, the detainee must prove that he or she is not a danger to the community. Immigration judges will often inquire into the person’s criminal history, including very minor offenses. Certain criminal offenses are disqualifying.
Second, the detainee must establish that he or she is not a flight risk. Immigration judges often want to see that the person qualifies to apply for some sort of relief that would allow the person to stay in the United States. In addition, immigration judges often assess whether the person has sufficient financial support and ties to the community.
Obtaining an immigration bond in the era of Trump can be challenging, but for many, it is not impossible. Given the complexity of immigration bond law, the value of obtaining an immigration attorney who is experienced and well-versed in bond proceedings cannot be overstated.
At DMCA, we have been fighting for clients detained in ICE custody for years and have obtained hundreds of bonds that allowed persons to walk free out of immigration detention centers. During the Trump years, we are continuing to fight. We have offices in Austin, San Antonio, and Houston, and attorneys in each city who are available for consultation. In addition to applying for bonds, we also represent clients in removal proceedings and work to identify long term solutions with the goal of obtaining status for our clients in the United States. If you or a loved one have been placed into immigration custody, please call our office today to schedule a consultation.
–DMCA Attorney Warren Craig