Question: I have a friend that was taken into deportation and would like to know if he can be bonded out. Can you give me some guidance?

ANSWER: A wide range of INS officials have the power to arrest and detain people. The INS can arrest a person without a warrant if it has “reason to believe that the alien … is in the United States in violation of any [immigration] law or regulation and is likely to escape before a warrant can be obtained for his arrest.”

QUESTION: What happens after a person is arrested on a suspected immigration law violation?

ANSWER: S/he should be examined “without unnecessary delay” by an INS officer on his or her right to enter or remain in the United States. The officer examining the individual after arrest should not be the arresting officer unless another qualifying officer is not available and taking the person before another officer will cause unnecessary delay. If the examining officer finds prima facie evidence that the person arrested has violated the immigration laws, then the officer will place him or her in removal proceedings or institute expedited removal, if applicable.

If the INS places the person in removal proceedings, it should notify him or her of the reasons for his or her arrest. The examining officer should also inform the individual of his or her right to counsel at no expense to the government and provide him or her with a list of free legal service providers. The officer should also warn the person that any statement that s/he makes “may be used against him or her in a subsequent proceeding.”

The INS may hold a person arrested without a warrant for 48 hours or longer “in the event of emergency or other extraordinary circumstances.”12 On or before the conclusion of this period, the INS must determine whether the individual will continue to be detained or released on bond or recognizance. It must also decide whether to issue a Notice to Appear (NTA) and an arrest warrant.13

QUESTION: How does INS determine who should be released and under what conditions?

ANSWER: The local INS District Office (usually the Detention and Deportation Unit) makes the initial custody and bond determinations.14 As long as the s/he is not subject to mandatory detention due to criminal or terrorist grounds, the INS may release the individual on bond or on recognizance.15

In order to be released, a person “must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the officer that such release would not pose a danger to property or persons, and that the alien is likely to appear for any future proceeding.” The factors commonly considered in making the determination to release and/or set bond include: 1) Local family ties;
2) Prior arrests, convictions, appearances at hearings; 3) Membership in community organization; 4) Manner of entry length of time in the United States; 5) Immoral acts or participation in subversive activities; and 6) Financial ability to post bond.

After September 11, the government’s concern about security and intelligence gathering may also play a crucial role in deciding whether a person will be detained or released.

QUESTION: Can a person work once s/he has been released from INS custody?

ANSWER: The person can work as long as s/he is a lawful permanent resident (LPR) or is otherwise authorized to work, such as where s/he has received authorization to work based on a pending adjustment or asylum application.

QUESTION: Can a person challenge the INS’s custody/bond determination?

The regulations prohibit the following groups of people from requesting an Immigration Judge to review the INS’s custody and/or bond determination: 1) those considered to be “arriving aliens”; 2) those charged with being deportable on security, terrorism and related grounds; or 3) those subject to mandatory detention.

Even though an Immigration Judge does not have jurisdiction to redetermine custody and/or bond for the above groups, s/he does have jurisdiction to review whether the INS correctly determined that an individual does in fact belong to one of these groups.

Everyone else may request an Immigration Judge to review the INS’s custody and/or bond decisions at any time until a removal order becomes final. A request for custody and/or bond redetermination may be made orally, in writing, or by telephone, if the Immigration Judge permits in his or her discretion. If the person is detained, the request for custody and/or bond redetermination should be made to the Immigration Court that has jurisdiction over the place of detention. Otherwise, the request should be made to the Immigration Court that has administrative control over the case.

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Can He be Bonded Out?