"What is an Immigration Bond?"

Do you have a family member, friend or client detained by the United States Homeland Security Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement? Have they been granted an immigration bond? If this is the case, you may be asking yourself what needs to be done to get the person released on that bond. Most people proceed with this process without a true understanding of exactly what an immigration bond is. Believe or not, the entire process of obtaining and understanding an immigration bond is fairly simple in concept and in practice; if you are dealing with the right company. It is my hope that after having read this article, you will have a firm understanding as to the concept of an immigration bond.

An immigration bond is a type of surety bond used to secure the release of a person living unlawfully within the United States from the custody of Homeland Security. A surety bond is very similar to that of an insurance contract. In an insurance contract, there are two parties; the insurer and insured. A surety bond is issued by one party (the obligor) and is a promise to pay another party (the obligee) a certain amount if a third party (the principal) fails to meet some obligation, such as fulfilling the terms of a contract. The surety bond protects the obligee against losses resulting from the principal's failure to meet the obligation. In the case of an immigration bond, the obligor is the surety or insurance company, the obligee is the US Department of Homeland Security and the principal is the alien being detained.

The immigration bond, also known as ICE Form I-352, has three distinct types. They are G (1) Delivery Bond (Bond Conditioned upon the Delivery of an Alien); G (2) Public Safety Bond (Bond That Alien Shall Not Become a Public Charge) and G (3) Voluntary Departure Bond (Bond Conditioned upon the Voluntary Departure of An Alien). A delivery bond is the most common of these three bond classes and is ultimately used as a tool to ensure that if and when an alien is ordered deported, they comply with that order. The G (1) Delivery Bond represents a large proportion of all immigration bonds posted. A public safety bond is ultimately used to ensure that if a bonded alien accepts any form of public assistance, the government is reimbursed. A voluntary departure bond is used to ensure that an alien that is granted voluntary departure returns to his/ her home country in accordance with the conditions set forth in the court order.

An immigration bond is a unique type of surety bond known as a federal civil bond. Federal means that this class of bond is regulated by the Federal Government and civil means that no crime has been committed. Living unlawfully within the United States is not a criminal offense and while one can be detained for living unlawfully in the US, they cannot face a criminal charge for being in the US illegally. Now if someone living unlawfully within the US commits a criminal offense, then not only will they go to jail and have to deal with the repercussions of their actions, they will be facing deportation from the US once their criminal case is resolved.

The fundamental purpose of an immigration delivery bond is to execute a final order for deportation issued by an immigration judge. A person living unlawfully within the US that is released on an immigration bond will be allowed to remain in the United States pending the outcome of their case. If the immigration judge decides the alien has no basis to stay in the US, they will be ordered deported back to their native country. The immigration delivery bond is the tool used to ensure that a person ordered to leave the country complies with their obligation. Many people think that the primary purpose of the immigration bond is to ensure that the bonded alien appears in court. While that is part of their obligation, failing to appear for a court date cannot directly result in a breach of bond. If an alien fails to appear in court, immigration will issue an I 340 (Notice To Appear) to the obligor (surety) demanding that the obligor surrenders the alien into the custody of Homeland Security on a certain time and date. If the obligor fails to produce the alien, they will be forced to pay Homeland Security the penal sum of the bond. This scenario is not typical because almost all aliens out on bond appear for their court date. After all, in most cases they want to stay in the United States. Herein lays the biggest misconception pertaining to immigration bonds. When an alien is ordered deported, they are not taken straight from the courtroom and deported. Quite the contrary, they are allowed to leave the court freely and are given time to appeal the decision of the court. If they choose not to file an appeal or do so and are unsuccessful, guess what comes next? That's right, you guessed it; an I 340 for surrender. In many cases, the obligor will not even receive the I 340 for surrender for months and sometimes even years after the judge's final order. At this point, the bond is at its greatest risk of being breached. What if the alien that was ordered deported doesn't want to leave the country? It is the obligor's responsibility to ensure that the alien does in fact surrender to be deported on the date and time specified on the I 340. If the obligor does not produce the alien, they will be forced to pay Homeland Security the dollar amount of the bond.

Robert Prager
President
Action Immigration Bonds & Insurance Services, Inc.