Released 29 March 2016  By Michelle Mendez CLINIC
Immigration Bond: How to Get Your Money Back
Michelle Mendez CLINIC
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The obligor can designate someone else to receive the bond refund via a notarized ICE Form I-312, Designation of Attorney in Fact. This document is the equivalent of a “power of attorney” in the specific transaction of accepting on the “obligor's behalf the return of cash or United States bonds or notes deposited to secure an immigration bond upon cancelation of the bond for performance by obligor.” The person whom the obligor wishes to designate does not have to be an attorney. The attorney or Board of Immigration Appeals representative can be designated to receive the bond refund. However, keep in mind ethical obligations, in particular a conflict of interest, if representing the previously detained foreign national. It is advised that soon after the obligor posts the bond that he or she assign a close member of the bonded individual’s family to ensure that the refund returns to the appropriate individual regardless of the whereabouts of the obligor.
In much the same manner that the obligor can designate someone to receive the bond refund, the obligor can revoke that designation using a notarized ICE Form I-312. If the revocation is deemed invalid, the ICE Financial Operations Bonds Unit will return ICE Form I-312 with an explanation of why it is not acceptable. Since the obligor has broad powers over the bond refund, it is advised that the family of a bonded individual choose the obligor carefully before entrusting the person with this responsibility and power. If the family does not know many LPRs or U.S. citizens to serve as the obligor and therefore is limited to one or two people whom the family may not know well, it is advised that the family execute proper signed documents proving that the family provided the obligor with the money to post the bond.
What if the bonded individual fails to comply with the bond conditions of appearing in immigration court or at an ICE check-in?
If the bonded individual fails to appear at an immigration court hearing or at an ICE ERO appointment and thereby becomes a fugitive, that individual will be in breach of the bond terms. When this happens, ICE sends the obligor an ICE Form I-340, Notice to Obligor to Deliver Alien, via certified mail, return receipt requested. The notice demands that the obligor present the bonded alien at the ICE Field Office at a specific date and time, usually in the morning. The date will likely be within a few weeks after receipt of the notice, so the obligor will have limited time to find and make arrangements with the bonded individual. If the obligor fails to present the bonded individual at the requested date and time, ICE will send an ICE Form I-323, Notice of Immigration Bond Breached. In this case the obligor will not receive a bond refund.
For those who were not detained but received a voluntary bond, the bond serves the same purpose – security that the foreign national will depart per the voluntary departure terms. The ICE Form I-210, Voluntary Departure and Verification of Departure Form, documents the foreign national’s agreement to voluntarily depart from the United States. Prior to leaving the United States, the foreign national and ICE sign the printed form and ICE provides a copy. Upon returning to his or her home country, a State Department official at a U.S. consulate or embassy completes the remainder of the form and sends it to DHS/ICE Headquarters Office at VD-Bond-Verifications@dhs.gov, showing that the foreign national did depart. ICE then uploads the form to its Bond Document Repository, an electronic storage for bond related documents.
What if the bonded individual returns to his or her country without completing the removal proceedings?
If the obligor finds after receiving ICE Form I-323, Notice of Immigration Bond Breached, that the bonded individual has self-deported, it is possible to obtain the bond refund. The obligor will seek rescission of the bond breach, reinstatement of the bond, and then bond cancellation. The obligor will require proof that the bonded individual has departed, such as travel confirmation, boarding passes and a stamped passport. The bonded individual should also report to the U.S. Embassy or consulate in his or her home country and request an ICE Form I-210, Voluntary Departure and Verification of Departure, to be sent to DHS/ICE Headquarters Office at VD-Bond-Verifications@dhs.gov. Although the bonded individual did not technically receive voluntary departure from the immigration judge, the “Verification of Departure” part of the form is the relevant piece. The bonded individual should request a copy of this document and submit a copy to the obligor.
Here is a sample successful letter addressed to the ICE Field Office requesting a bond refund in this self-deportation scenario:
Re: Bond Receipt Number XXX; Bond Breach Number XXX; Alien Number XXX (Name)
Dear Bond Officer Handy:
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington represents U.S. citizen bond obligor X who seeks rescission of a breach of the immigration bond, its reinstatement, and ultimately its cancellation. The obligor in this matter has good cause for this request and encloses documentary evidence that supports rescission, reinstatement, and cancellation.
The cash bond, which was posted on June 7, 2011, was held to be breached after the alien failed to appear at her master calendar hearing on June 13, 2012. The obligor subsequently received an ICE Form I-323, Notice of Immigration Bond Breached, dated October 1, 2012. However, the alien did not appear at her hearing on June 13, 2012 because she had already departed to El Salvador, her country of origin, due to a family emergency in El Salvador. The alien departed on May 7, 2012 before her master calendar hearing. This is established by the airline confirmation information. Upon arriving in the United States, the alien reported to ICE at the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador and was issued the enclosed “Verification of Departure” by Mr. John W. Duncan, Assistant Attaché for Removals, dated January 4, 2013, that confirms her departure on May 7, 2012. Thereafter, the obligor received ICE Form I-340, Notice to Obligor to Deliver Alien, dated August 16, 2012. As the alien had already departed, the obligor could not deliver the alien as instructed.
Please see enclosed the following documents, which will allow you to make the determination the obligor seeks.
* G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance
* ICE Form I-323, Notice of Immigration Bond Breached dated October 1, 2012
* Verification of Departure from USA on May 7, 2012 from ICE in San Salvador, El Salvador dated January 4, 2013
* ICE Form I-340, Notice to Obligor to Deliver Alien dated August 16, 2012
* Order of Removal entered by the immigration judge on June 13, 2012
* Travel confirmation for May 7, 2012 (showing purchase date May 1, 2012)
* ICE Form I-352, Immigration Bond dated June 7, 2011
* ICE Form I-305, Receipt of Immigration Officer dated June 7, 2011
If you do not agree that the obligor should obtain the actions she seeks, please provide written notice along with an explanation. If you need additional documentation to come to a determination, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to provide the documentation. Thank you very much for your time and consideration of this request.
Somewhat related, here is an article in Spanish re detained unaccompanied minors in North Carolina, "Listas ordenes para deportar mas de 10 mil menores de CA": http://www.latribuna.hn/2016/03/01/listas-ordenes-deportar-mas-10-mil-menores-ca/
Michelle N. Mendez
Training and Legal Support Staff Attorney
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)