In order to be released from immigration detention, many people are required to post a bond. The purpose of posting a bond is to ensure that the bonded individual will appear at all future immigration court hearings.
1. Can ICE Keep My Money Forever?
Sometimes. If the person who was bonded out fails to attend their immigration court hearings, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) may consider the bond to be “breached.” ICE will send an ICE Form I-323, Notice of Immigration Bond Breached to the obligor. If this happens, the obligor will not receive their money back. If interest accrued on the bond, ICE will return the interest to the obligor.
2. Who is the Obligor?
The obligor is the person or company that paid the bond for the detained individual. After paying the bond, the obligor received Form I-305 (Receipt). It is extremely important that they keep these original documents, as they are needed to eventually get the money back. Just like the bonded person, an obligor must update ICE anytime they move.
3. Who Gets the Money Back?
Typically, the obligor gets the bond money back, since they are the person or company that paid for the bond. In some cases, an obligor may have designated an “Attorney in Fact” to receive the bond money. In this instance, the Attorney in Fact will receive the bond money at the end of the process.
4. When Do I Get My Money Back?
At the completion of the immigration proceedings – either when the bonded person is granted a form of relief and is legally able to remain in the United States, or when they depart the United States by order of the Immigration Judge.
When proceedings are complete, ICE will cancel the bond. It will then notify the Debt Bond Management Center. After this, the Debt Management Center will notify the obligor by sending them Form I-391. It may take more than 6-8 weeks after the departure or grant of relief for the obligor to be notified.
When the obligor receives Form I-391, they need to send it with their original Form I-305 and a cover letter requesting their refund to:
Debt Management Center
Attention: Bond Unit
P.O. Box 5000
Williston, VT 05495-5000
It’s important to know that the entire process may take several months before the obligor receives their money back.
5. What if I Lost My Receipt Form I-305?
If the obligor lost the original Receipt Form I-305, all hope is not lost. It’s possible to still receive the money back by taking a few more steps. The obligor should complete Form I-395, Affidavit in Lieu of Lost Receipt of United States ICE for Collateral Accepted as Security, as a substitute. You can find this, and other forms, here: https://www.ice.gov/forms.
If you need to talk to someone about the specifics of your bond, you may want to call the Financial Operations of the DHS Debt Management Center at (802) 288-7600 and select option 2 to speak with someone.
If you have more questions, please come see our office with any questions other you may have. Our office is located at: 200 University Avenue W., Suite 200, St. Paul, MN 55103. We can be reached by phone at: (651) 771-0019.