Understanding the Changes to Immigration Bail Bonds

December 20, 2017

Immigration is a politically charged topic in the United States. The election of Donald Trump in 2016 put a renewed spotlight on immigration policy.

Many immigrants are fearful due to the harsh rhetoric of President Trump. Did you know that there are 30,000 detained immigrants in the United States? Unfortunately, many are denied bail or cannot afford to post it.

However, a recent court ruling reinforces the legal rights of American immigrants. According to the federal appeals court, bail cannot be denied to immigrants solely on their immigration status.

Being detained by the United States government can be scary, but you retain legal rights in this situation. It's imperative for you to understand these rights and know who to contact for help.

Read on to learn more about immigration bail and how this court decision affects you.

What is the Background of the Court Case?

This court decision involved Mario Ailon, an immigrant from Guatemala. Mr. Ailon lived in Kansas for the past seven years but was arrested in July 2017.

He was detained by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Mr. Ailon was charged with misuse of a social security number and illegal re-entry into the United States.

The federal prosecutor argued against granting Mr. Ailon immigration bail. One reason given for denying bond was the misperception that the defendant would flee and not return for trial.

The government also argued that if an immigration bond is posted, ICE must deport the individual within 90 days. This is another misconception addressed by the judge.

What Did the Court Decide?

The 3-judge panel representing the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the prosecutor's arguments. The court contended that each case must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

The character of the defendant is important to the ruling. The court did not accept the prosecutor's interpretation of deportation laws. Essentially, the judges do not believe ICE must deport the detainee within this short period of time.

What Does This Mean for Immigration Bail?
Make no mistake, this is a monumental ruling with wide-ranging impacts to detained immigrants. Most importantly, the government cannot deny immigration bail solely based on an individual's immigration status.

Secondary to this, the ruling also means that a court cannot automatically deem an individual a flight risk. Rather, the court must consider each person's character and not apply blanket rulings to all immigrants.

How Extensive is This Court Ruling?

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals covers six states in the Midwest from Kansas to Utah. This means that detained immigrants in these states have new hope for a pretrial release.

However, a similar ruling was also reached by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. This court reached a similar conclusion, meaning that California and 8 other Western states were following a similar precedent.

Ultimately, this debate is likely to reach the U.S. Supreme Court for a final and nationwide ruling.

While politicians may offer up scary talking points, U.S. courts are ruling in favor of immigrants' rights. More specifically, momentum is building across a large portion of the U.S. that immigrants cannot be denied bail based on immigration status.

This is important and immigrants must be cognizant of their legal rights. For more information on immigration bail, please contact us for assistance.

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