Freedom for Immigrants' National Detention Bond Fund
What is a bond?
Detained immigrants, including people arrested in ICE raids and mothers separated from their children at the border, sometimes have the opportunity to be released on a cash bond — which is like bail — while fighting their cases.
In fact, 30 percent (29.8%) of people in detention in FY 2016 were granted a bond according to TRAC. Once released, they are eight times more likely to win their case. They also have a fighting chance to reunite with their children, some of whom are being detained at child detention facilities run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
However, many families cannot afford the high bond amounts set by ICE or by immigration judges. There is no upper limit for immigration bonds, but Freedom for Immigrants has documented immigration bonds ranging from $1,500 to $250,000 with a median of $4,250 and an average of $14,500.
Without the ability to pay a bond, longtime lawful permanent residents, asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants who may be eligible for relief from deportation are forced to languish in immigration detention while they fight their immigration case. This pushes families into poverty and creates tremendous emotional strain for both parents and children. Immigrants have lost housing, jobs, small businesses and custody of children as a result of not being able to pay a bond.
So many people in immigration detention are simply in need of a loan that may be recycled to help someone else win their freedom on bond in the future.
Some of the individuals we've bonded out
How does Freedom for Immigrants' National Detention Bond Fund work?
Freedom for Immigrants has operated a Revolving Immigration Bond Fund since 2010.
We have raised over $200,000 to secure the release of over 100 people from immigration detention in 2018.
So far our data shows that it only costs about $17 per person per day to support individuals through our case management services versus $145 per person per day to keep them locked up in detention.
We work with the families of people in detention to match funds they have raised or raise the entire bond amount through online community fundraisers. We then post the bonds with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and become what is called the obligor. If a person complies with all requirements of their immigration cases, the bond will be returned to Freedom for Immigrants and may be reused to assist another person in paying bond and winning their freedom from immigration detention.
Why is a bond fund necessary to end immigration detention?
When a person is released on bond, their chances of winning their immigration case increases drastically. This is because there is a huge lack of attorneys who are willing to represent people in immigration detention. As a result, 84% of people in immigration detention do not have attorneys and must represent themselves in complicated legal proceedings. When someone is released on immigration bond, their final hearing date will not be for years in the future, due to the backlog in immigration court. This affords people in deportation proceedings more time to find adequate legal representation.
Many immigrants in detention and their families, desperate to remain together, fall victim to predatory bail bonds companies, like Libre by Nexus. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requires immigration bonds to be paid in cash without the ability to use property or other resources as collateral. Libre by Nexus puts their customers in debt by charging $880 upfront, 20% of the bond amount, and an additional $420/month. Libre by Nexus also requires their customers to wear oppressive ankle-monitoring technology with no oversight. This exploitative model makes it extremely difficult for low-income families to stay financially afloat and be able to afford legal representation.
Our bond fund gives the individuals and their families the opportunity to avoid exploitative companies like Libre by Nexus, and instead focus their efforts on winning their immigration cases.
Be a part of the solution today.
Please join us and invest in Freedom for Immigrants' Bond Fund. Your tax-deductible donation will help someone win their freedom and your gift will be recycled in perpetuity, until our work to end the immigration detention system is complete.