In 2019 alone, ICE reported arresting more than 143,000 aliens and deporting more than 267,000 of them.
At any given time, there are hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals in immigration detention centers throughout the U.S. The states reporting the highest number of people in detention centers on any given day were Texas, Louisiana, California, Arizona, and Georgia. Texas, a border state, reported more than 14,000 detainments alone.
If you or a loved one were among these shocking statistics, you likely got an immigration bond. Once the bond conditions are met, you’ll want to know how you can get an immigration bond refund.
How and when can you get a refund? Continue reading to learn everything you need to know on the topic.
What Is an Immigration Bond?
An immigration bond is similar to a criminal bond in that both secure the release of an individual awaiting their court date. The difference is that an immigration bond is specifically for those detained by ICE.
ICE is the United States Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They deal specifically with people who aren’t legal residents of the U.S. or individuals who have successfully obtained their green cards.
What Is an Obligor?
When securing an immigration bond or following the process to receive a refund, you’ll often hear the term “obligor.” An obligor is a person who pays the immigration bond.
To pay an immigration bond, a person must be over the age of eighteen and have legal citizen status. Green-card holders can pay immigration bonds, but a close friend is often used as an obligor.
When Can You Receive an Immigration Bond Refund?
Two situations will trigger an immigration bond refund. The detained individual must have obtained legal status or have been deported back to their home country. In either of these situations, a bond cancellation is automatically triggered.
Once a band cancellation is triggered, ICE will notify both you and the DHS Management Center in Vermont. It can take a year or more from when you pay the immigration bond until you receive this notice.
What Should You Do After Receiving Your Notice?
Once you receive your notice, you need to gather your essential paperwork to mail it to the Debt Management Center in Vermont. The items you should include in your mailing are:
- The notice you received from ICE of bond cancellation
- Your original receipt for the bond (also called Form I-305)
- Copy of bond contract (if available)
- Cover letter requesting a refund
Once you’ve gathered these essential documents, you should mail them to:
Debt Management Center
Attn: Bond Unit
P.O. Box 5000
Williston, Vermont, 05495
Once they receive your information, the Debt Management Center will begin processing your refund. It can take several weeks (or even months) to receive your immigration bond refund after this point.
What Happens if You Misplaced Your Receipt?
Ideally, you’ll keep your bond receipt in a secure place like your desk, filing cabinet, or safe. If you’ve misplaced it, however, there is a form you can send instead.
The form you’ll need is called ICE Form I-395. It’s officially known as the Affidavit in Lieu of Lost Receipt of U.S. ICE for Collateral Accepted as Security.
The form must be filled out in its entirety. It will then need to be notarized. You can include it in your response to the Debt Management Center instead of the original bond receipt.
What if the Bonded Detainee Fails to Meet Bond Conditions?
If the bonded person fails to meet conditions, the obligor will receive a notice to deliver them to ICE. The notice will include the location, date, and time the alien needs to be delivered. The date of delivery will generally be within a few weeks of the notice being mailed.
If the obligor delivers the detainee as stated in the notice, they’ll still be eligible for a bond refund. However, if they fail to deliver them, the money is forfeit because the bond conditions were broken.
How Can I Make Sure Bond Conditions Are Met?
Once you’ve signed the bond contract, you assume a measure of legal responsibility for the detained alien. If you want to ensure the money you paid for the bond eventually comes back to you, it’s essential you actively ensure bond conditions are met.
The most common bond condition is that the person attends all scheduled court hearings. You can help make sure this condition is met by reminding the detainee to attend. Physically driving the individual to their hearings is also a good idea.
If other bond conditions need to be met, periodically check in with the detainee. Other conditions may include keeping legal employment and avoiding drugs or alcohol.
Stay Organized for an Easier Refund Process
The immigration bond refund process goes much smoother when you keep track of all essential documents. It’s highly recommended you find a secure place to store these documents so they’ll be ready when you need them.
A few ideas of secure places to store these documents include:
- Inside a desk
- In a filing cabinet
- In a safe or secure in-home lockbox
- In a banking lockbox
Remember where you put the documents. Don’t ever give these documents to anyone else, including the bonded individual.
Do You Have More Questions About Getting an Immigration Bond Refund?
Receiving an immigration bond refund can be a straightforward process, so long as the bond conditions are met. If you still have questions, feel free to check out our other blog posts. We have a wealth of resources available to help you with the process.