Today, we are jumping back in to the topic of bond in Immigration Court. I think that many people (and perhaps many lawyers) do not appreciate just how important of a subject it is. For that reason, I would like to discuss it a bit further.
Right now, the calendars of immigration courts around the United States are very full, and very backed up. This means that it takes a long time for any case to be finished in any immigration court. The immigration courts in the United States all have two separate calendars: one calendar for individuals that immigration has put in jail, and one calendar for individuals that are out on bond or who have never been detained.
The calendar for individuals that immigration has detained goes very, very fast. Most detained cases are finished in a matter of weeks. Most non-detained cases take YEARS. This means, that if an individual is arrested by immigration or transferred to an immigration jail from a different jail, that person will have his or her first hearing in immigration court within a few weeks—because he or she is detained. His or her first hearing usually happens within two weeks. The U.S. Government makes sure that hearings for detained persons are conducted quickly for two reasons: first, the government does not want to keep immigration detainees in custody any longer than it has to, as a matter of justice and fairness; second, keeping individuals detained is EXPENSIVE.
If a person is detained, he or she will have the opportunity to request bond at his or her first hearing in front of the immigration judge. At that hearing, if the immigration judge denies bond, then that person may continue to fight his or her defenses from jail (if the person has any defenses) or he or she may simply elect to request a voluntary departure. If a judge denies bond and the person requests voluntary departure (or is deported) that person will have to leave the United States from immigration jail, possibly not seeing his or her wife or husband or children for years.
However, if an immigration judge GRANTS bond, and the person pays it, then that person will leave immigration jail. That person will STILL have to go back to immigration court, but he or she will return VOLUNTARILY, and he or she will transfer to the immigration court’s calendar for individuals who are NOT detained.
As mentioned earlier, the calendar for immigration court for individuals who are not detained lasts many years. So even if a person has no defenses, and will have to ask for voluntary departure at his or her first hearing where he or she returns to court on his or her own, that person will then have earned—by paying a bond and transferring to the immigration court’s schedule for non-detained persons—possibly six months to a year or more in the United States. This time is obviously ALWAYS important if the person has children in the United States.
Thanks for reading.