The controversial Secure Communities program has been expanded to New York. The program requires local jails to match fingerprints against a federal immigration database. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) then has the local jails detain people they think may be in the country without authorization, while it decides whether to proceed with deportation/removal proceedings.
This means that individuals who are not citizens of the U.S. may be subjected to detention and removal proceedings if they come into contact with local law enforcement. Now more than ever it is important for family members, and friends of these people to understand the facts regarding detention and whether their family member qualifies for bond.
Posting a criminal bond may not result in the individual being released. Instead they may have an immigration hold and the criminal bond will result in them being transferred to ICE custody. At this point they will need to apply for an immigration bond.
Moreover, immigration bonds work differently than criminal bonds. The bond is initially decided by the deportation officer in charge of the detainee. If the deportation officer gives a bond that is too high or refuses to give a bond a bond redetermination hearing can be requested with an immigration judge. At the hearing the judge will listen to the facts and determine if the detainee qualifies for a bond.
It is also extremely important for the detainee to apply for an immigration bond as soon as possible. This is because detainees can be transferred to another jail before they are assigned an immigration judge. Detainees in New York are often transferred to Pennsylvania, Louisiana, or Texas; upon arrival in these jails they are assigned an immigration judge in that state. This puts the detainee and their family at a significant disadvantage, as now they have to incur the additional costs of travel and legal fees in another state.
However, if a bond redetermination hearing is requested immediately the detainee will be assigned a judge where they are being held and will not be sent to other states to fight their case.
Certain immigration detainees are also subject to mandatory detention. This means they do not qualify for any bond under any circumstances. Such cases are often misinterpreted by immigration officers and a Joseph hearing can be requested where an Immigration Judge will determine whether they are in fact subject to mandatory detention. Another option is filing a Habeus petition for unlawful detention.
If you or a family member is detained with an immigration hold, it is important for you hire an attorney immediately. A good attorney will fight to get the detainee out on a reasonable bond or supervised release. It is much easier to fight an immigration case from the outside rather than inside a jail.
*Attorney Advertising: Prior results do not guarantee a future, similar outcome.
Nicklaus Misiti is the C.E.O. and Chief Attorney of one of New York City’s most successful immigration law firms, the Law Offices of Nicklaus Misiti, PLLC.