Immigration bail bonds are bonds or security issued when a person has been arrested for being in the United States illegally. In the US, immigration is tightly controlled and it is a crime to be in the country without a valid visa, passport, green card, citizenship or other provision. If a person is identified as being in violation of immigration laws, he will be subject to a trial and potential deportation by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Pending that trial, the person will either be detained by ICE or will be free to go until the trial if he posts a bail bond.
Like criminal bail, immigration bail is designed to ensure that the person returns on the day of his trial. When a person is arrested by ICE, ICE wants to ensure he will come back to stand trial and face the penalties; as such, before the person is released, ICE wants him to put him some type of guarantee — in the form of money or assets. If he does return on the day of the trial, then the bond is released. If he does not return, however, ICE can seize the money or assets and they can be forfeited.
For example, ICE may set a bond at $10,000 US Dollars (USD). This means the person or his family would have to put up $10,000 USD as collateral or as a guarantee that the accused would return for trial. If the person accused of being an illegal immigrant came to his immigration trial or hearing, the $10,000 USD would be returned to the person who posted the money. If the person did not, the $10,000 USD would be lost.
Because many people cannot pay the entire bail themselves, companies issue immigration bail bonds. This means a company will pay the money in exchange for collateral or some type of fee or guarantee. A bail bond company may issue immigration bail bonds but charge the person accused of being an illegal immigrant a percentage of the amount owed. The company issuing the immigration bail bonds might also ask for collateral in the form of real estate, jewelry, or some other items of value to ensure the money is returned or that the person goes to court. If the individuals to whom immigration bail bonds are issued do not show up in court, the company employs bounty hunters or bondsman to track the individuals down.