Since 2006, nearly 210,000 illegal immigrants have been temporarily spared deportation thanks to an immigration bail bond. These bonds must be backed by a surety company or paid in full and the amount of bail is determined on a variety of factors. The bail depends on the length of time in the U.S., marriage and employment history of an illegal immigrant (among other issues) and is decided by an immigration judge.
The immigrations bail amounts are set at a minimum of $1,500, but in 2011 they averaged $5,162. Tripling in frequency over the last six years, immigration bonds have resulted in nearly $1 billion paid to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Some say the rising regularity of these bonds is the equivalent of amnesty or “lax enforcement” of the law; others say it borders on a scam, generating federal funds at the expense of illegal immigrants.
However, what is clear is that illegal immigrants are being given the chance to return to their families and establish their case. As we have discussed about Secure Communities and other programs like it, there are people who are unjustly detained, subjected to lengthy detainment or outright deported under wrongful circumstances.
This new data does point to a high financial toll for illegal immigrants accused of a crime, but it also shows that deportation proceedings declined by 28% in the final quarter of 2011 as compared to the same time frame in 2010.
ICE is prioritizing immigration and deportation cases that involve people with a criminal history — or, as it is being called, “smart, effective immigration enforcement” — but there is still plenty of gray area in U.S. immigration law. Consult a reputable lawyer who specializes in issues pertaining to immigration if local or federal authorities are threatening you or your family with deportation.
Source: Houston Chronicle, “Huge rise seen in ICE cases released on bail,” Regina Garcia Cano, Mar. 24, 2012