An immigration bond is a type of surety bond used to secure the release of a person living unlawfully within the United States. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the government organization that arrests and detains foreign nationals. ICE has the authority to release the person based on personal recognizance, in which case you won't need to pay for a bond. If that is not the case, either ICE or an immigration judge will set the bond amount, and the amount will increase or decrease based on several factors, such as the person's immigration status, criminal history, employment situation, and family ties in the United States. The higher the flight risk, the higher the bond amount.
There are two types of immigration bonds available to illegal aliens in ICE custody (as long as the detainee is not considered a threat to national security or public safety).
1. Delivery bond – An illegal immigrant who has been detained by ICE may be eligible for a delivery bond based on the determination of ICE or an immigration judge. The detainee must receive an arrest warrant and a notice of custody conditions from ICE to be released on a delivery bond. The purpose of the delivery bond is to ensure that the detainee shows up to all immigration hearings. It allows the person to spend time with family, as well as consult with an immigration lawyer leading up to a court hearing.
2. Voluntary departure bond – In some cases, detainees are given the option to voluntarily leave the country at their own expense by a specified time period. The departure bond--if paid in full to ICE--is refundable once the person has left the country, but will be forfeited if the person fails to leave.
The detainee's friends or family can work with an immigration bond agent to get an immigration bond. The agent will typically charge 15-20% of the total bond amount.