Requesting a Bond Hearing in Immigration Detention
If you are held in immigration detention prior to removal proceedings, you may be able to get bond if you are not subject to mandatory detention. You must request a bond hearing, at which a judge will determine whether you can be released from detention until your case is resolved. They also will decide how much you need to pay in exchange for your release. You will not be informed automatically about your right to a bond hearing, although the judge may mention your possible eligibility for bond. On ICE Form I-286, you may find information regarding your initial bond amount. Not every foreign national in immigration detention gets a copy of this form, though.
You may need to prove your eligibility for bond immediately if you file a request for a hearing, so you should wait until you are ready before making a request. However, if you do need more time, a judge may agree to postpone the hearing. You rarely will get a second chance if the judge denies your request for bond or sets a high payment. (To get a second chance, you would need to submit a written request that shows a significant change in circumstances since the previous decision.) You can appeal a ruling on bond to the Board of Immigration Appeals, but you will remain in detention until the BIA makes its decision.
How to Request a Bond Hearing
Sometimes a foreign national will have automatically requested a bond hearing by checking a box on Form I-286. This does not explicitly refer to a bond hearing but involves a request for a redetermination of the custody decision by the immigration judge. However, if you did not check this box or are not sure whether you did, you can request a bond hearing separately. You can make a request either orally or in writing. An oral request usually will happen at the first Master Calendar Hearing in your case, but it can happen at a later Master Calendar Hearing as well. If you request a bond hearing at a Master Calendar Hearing, the judge sometimes (but not always) will conduct the bond hearing on the same day, either before or after the current proceeding.
Any written request for a bond hearing should include your name, your alien registration number, the name of your detention facility, and a copy of your Notice to Appear. You will need to send this information to the immigration court that will hear your case. You can request a bond hearing free of charge.
A bond hearing is a relatively informal proceeding. It is not recorded, and any evidence presented in it will be kept separate from the evidence in the substantive immigration proceeding. Sometimes you can even request bond by phone, although this is not available in most cases. You can submit evidence supporting your request for bond in advance, but this is not required. Evidence may include proof that you are eligible for immigration relief, documentation of your good moral character and good standing in the community, or a letter from your immigration sponsor.