Learn more about Immigration Bonds

Tennessee lawyer helping immigrants facing ICE detainment

Being taken into an ICE detention center can be very frightening. Many immigrants panic, afraid that they will automatically be deported simply because they were taken into custody. They may agree to a “voluntary removal,” thinking this will help their case – but usually all it does is force them out of the U.S. for up to five years or more. That’s why it is crucial that you speak to an immigration attorney if you are being held in detention.

Attorney Patrick Slaughter helps immigrants in detention centers in Tennessee by determining whether or not they are eligible for an immigration bond. If you are, we can help you and your family through the process of having you released while the ICE looks over your case. If you are facing deportation, our skilled lawyers offer aggressive defense techniques designed to protect your rights and keep you safe and sound with your family.

What is an ICE hold?

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hold, or “immigration hold,” occurs when a local or Tennessee state police officer arrests a person for a crime, and then runs that person’s fingerprints through a database; the government ICE, upon seeing those fingerprints, may request that the police keep that person in custody because they believe he or she may be eligible for removal.

An ICE hold does not mean an immigrant will automatically be deported, and it can only last for up to 48 hours after arrest if there is no other criminal charge. So if, let’s say, your brother is put in an ICE hold at 1:00pm on a Monday, the government only has until 1:00pm on a Wednesday to hold him. If the hold lasts too long, or if an immigrant’s rights or freedoms are infringed upon once they are released, we can file a writ of habeas corpus. Habeas corpus is what forbids the government from keeping prisoners in jail without going before a judge, and a writ of habeas corpus can be used when an immigrant is detained too long in an ICE hold.

However, it is important to note that if a person is arrested for a crime, the 48 hour hold will not begin until after the criminal charge is disposed.

How an immigration bond works

When the government takes an immigrant into custody, a judge from the Department of Homeland Security can set a specific amount of money, or bond, which must be paid to allow the immigrant to leave custody. These bonds are separate from criminal bonds; thus, if we use the example from above, if you pay for your brother to be released from jail, you must pay another bond to have him released from an ICE hold.

Bond amounts may vary between $1,500 and $20,000, and are usually set by determining whether a person:

  • Has entered the country legally
  • Is abiding by his or her visa regulations
  • Is likely to show up to the hearing
  • Is a danger to society
  • Has a stable job or source of income
  • Has a criminal record
  • Can pay the amount, or has family who can pay the amount
  • Is eligible for relief from deportation

In cases where the DHS attorneys decide that the person in custody is a flight risk, or has committed or planned to commit an act of terrorism, a bond may be denied. There are also cases where the bond is intentionally set high by the judge for the immigrant or his/her family to pay, allowing the DHS to keep him or her in custody.

Once the judge sets the bond, you or your family member can pay it. If the detainee shows up for the hearings, you get your money back. If the detainee does not show up, your money stays with the government. You can typically 20-30% of the bond amount to a bondsmen (who keeps that money) which would allow them to get out. Patrick can help you find and negotiate with a bondsman who specializes in immigration bonds.

Why you need an immigration lawyer

Just because a person is held in an ICE detention center does not mean that he or she will automatically be deported. Furthermore, it is not always legal to hold an immigrant in mandatory detention: the government can make mistakes, too. Patrick’s background in criminal defense allows him to offer counsel to address the original cause for arrest as well as the reason for the ICE hold, and he can help you file for relief from removal quickly and efficiently. He travels to Atlanta and Memphis personally to represent clients, and he can protect your rights in front of an immigration judge or when presenting a case to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Trusted Tennessee attorneys help you through the immigration bond process

Facing deportation is frightening; choosing an attorney who can help shouldn’t be. Patrick Slaughter offers comprehensive care for immigrants being held in ICE detention. We explain how the bond process works, and represent you during hearings and appeals. To schedule an appointment at our Knoxville, TN office, please call 865.272.4454 or fill out this contact form.