Bond Hearings

I see that I haven’t written much about EOIR (the Executive Office for Immigration Review, or Immigration Court) proceedings, so today I want to write about bond hearings. I’ve been to the Boston Immigration Court more that usual this last week, and I have a matter pending before an Immigration Judge (IJ) in York, Pennsylvania, as well, so this seems like a natural topic.

In some cases, when a foreign national is arrested and detained by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), he or she has a right to a bond determination or re-determination before the Immigration Court. (Re-determination, because ICE can set a bond). When eligible, the client can, through his or her attorney, request a bond hearing. When the court receives the motion, a hearing will be set; at that point, it’s my job to show that the client (Respondent, in immigration parlance) is:

  1. not a danger to the community, and
  2. will likely appear at future hearings.

The ICE District Counsel will generally seek to show the opposite; also, if the client is ineligible for bond due to past convictions or due to being an arriving alien, that will surely come up at the hearing!

The IJ will then set bond, whether it’s to set an initial bond, change or make no change to the bond set by ICE, or raise it to no bond, depending on the results of the hearing. In many cases, the bond hearing is the first opportunity the Respondent has to appear before an IJ, so it is an important step. This is especially true as some people won’t have merits hearings for several months, so bond is necessary to avoid waiting in jail in the interim.

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