It’s easy to see why immigration bonds are often compared to criminal bail bonds—after all, in each case someone is paying for the bond to secure the release of a detainee, enabling them to appear for future court hearings.
But it’s not as simple as that, and the experienced immigration bonds experts at Freedom Federal Bonds Agency in Houston can explain why, along with offering some valuable advice.
Myth: many people think that an immigrant will be relieved of his/her bond obligation after showing up at the first court date.
That’s not the case. Once an immigrant secures an immigration delivery bond, he/she will be released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, but that’s not the end of the process.
The defendant still has to appear for all court hearings and for all I 340’s ICE Form I-340. In the past, the bonding company would sometimes be notified of court hearings, but this is no longer the case.
Today, the defendant and his/her attorney are the ones who are formally notified of court hearings.
The bonding company or person who posted the bond will not be notified of court hearings, but they will receive notice of an I-340 issued by the office of Enforcement and Removal Operations and they can then call the Executive Office of Immigration Review hotline at 1-800-898-7180 for more information.
At that point the EOIR will ask for the eight-or nine-digit alien number, and when you give it to them the agency will release key information about the case.
Myth: All immigration bonding companies are the same.
They’re not, and here’s why it’s important to work with a company like Freedom Federal Bonding Agency.
Typically, the defendant’s attorney is not notified of an I-340, and this can lead to a communication breakdown between the immigrant, the attorney, and the bonding company. Other times, an immigration attorney will advise their client not to appear for an I-340 because the lawyer is worried about the defendant being detained. But if the immigrant doesn’t show up for the I-340, it can result in a breach of bond and forfeiture of the total sum of the bond.
In contrast, our immigration bail bond experts maintain proper communication with our clients and their attorneys so we can avoid unnecessary situations that may result in bond forfeiture.
Myth: An I-340 is rarely issued.
In fact, an I-340 may be issued for many reasons, including interviews, case status reviews, and removal or deportation orders. Remember, immigration court is separate from Enforcement and Removal Operations, and court notices are issued independently of I 340s—so if an immigrant fails to appear in court, the bond will not automatically breach, but the immigration judge will order removal in absentia, which means that the immigrant will be ordered to be deported for failing to appear. If this occurs, a Motion to Reopen may be filed to get a rehearing.
Myth: It’s better not to show up for the hearing, since the judge may enter a deportation order anyway.
That is not accurate. If the defendant does appear in court and the presiding judge enters an order of deportation, an appeal may be filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals.
What Happens If an Immigrant Is Ordered to be Removed?
The immigrant’s file will then be transferred from immigration court to the ERO office that’s responsible for that person.
First, ERO will review the file. Then it will issue an I-340 to the defendant and to the entity that posted the bond. The next steps depend on the particular situation:
Situation #1: If the bond was posted by a bonding company.
In this case, ERO will review the I-352 bond contract to find out if they are required to notify the obligor (insurance company), the co-obligor (the actual bonding agent or agency), or both.
Freedom Federal ensures that the box marked “both” is checked, so ERO will be required to notify us and our insurance company.
Situation #2: If the obligor fails to produce the defendant for the I-340.
If this happens, ERO will breach the bond and issue an I-323 (Notice-Immigration Bond Breached) to the obligor following the same procedure used for notification of the I-340, described above.
At that point, the obligor will have 30 days to appeal the breach by submitting a Form I-290B, if he/she feels there is a legitimate defense to the breach. Freedom Federal has had years of experience dealing with breached bonds and, if there’s a valid defense, filing an appeal is usually not necessary.
Because we utilize a vast network of contacts within ERO, Freedom Federal almost always gets the breach rescinded without having to waste time and money filing an appeal—assuming of course that a valid defense exists.