Deportation Defense and Immigration Bonds2019-02-05T16:15:10+00:00

Most people without legal immigration status who are apprehended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the interior of the United States will face a deportation process (formally known as “removal proceedings”) which plays out in immigration court.  However, just because you are in deportation proceedings does not mean all hope is lost.  There are many defenses available in immigration court to those facing deportation.  An experienced immigration attorney can help navigate the complexities of court and significantly improve your chances of success.  Hinzman & Flory’s Of Counsel, Jered Dobbs, is a former legal adviser to the Dallas Immigration Court, and has many years of experience defending immigrants from deportation.  Explore this page to learn more about some of the available immigration court strategies.


Many immigrants facing deportation are eligible to ask for a bond during their removal proceedings. ICE has the authority to set a bond itself, but if it declines to do so, the immigrant may then ask an immigration judge to set a bond. An immigration judge will look at three questions in deciding whether to set a bond or not. They are:

(1) Is the alien eligible for a bond?

While most immigrants in deportation proceedings are eligible for bond, not all are. The most common reason for being ineligible for a bond is having a drug conviction. Other kinds of criminal history may also disqualify you from seeking a bond.

(2) Is the alien a danger to the community?

In assessing bond, an immigration judge will look at a person’s criminal history to decide if he or she is a danger to the community. Typically, the longer it has been since the bond applicant committed a crime, the less likely it is that the immigration judge will deem them a danger to the community.

(3) is the alien a flight risk?

An immigration judge will also determine if a bond applicant is a flight risk. Basically, this means the judge will look for evidence in the bond applicant’s life making it more likely he or she will return to court. Factors the judge will consider in assessing the risk of flight include family ties to the United States (especially spouses and children who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents), property ownership in the U.S., a stable residence history, a stable employment history, and whether there is any option for the bond applicant to apply for a green card with the immigration judge.


Ice denied my bond. Can I ask the immigration judge for one?

Yes. Many immigrants facing deportation are eligible to ask for a bond during their removal proceedings. ICE has the authority to set a bond itself, but if it declines to do so, the immigrant may then ask an immigration judge to set a bond.

How will the judge decide whether to give me a bond or not?

An immigration judge will look at three issues in deciding whether to set a bond or not. Those factors are:
(1) Is the alien eligible for a bond?
(2) Is the alien a danger to the community?
(3) is the alien a flight risk?
Each of these factors is explored in more detail above.

How much will my immigration bond be?

If the immigration judge sets a bond, it will typically be in the range of $5,000 to $15,000. The minimum bond an immigration judge can set is $1500.

How do I ask for a bond from an immigration judge?

To ask an immigration judge for a bond, a bond application must be filed with the court.

How long will it take to get my bond hearing?

From the time the bond application is filed, it will typically take 1-3 weeks for the bond hearing to be set. The immigration judge will decide whether to grant a bond at the bond hearing and if granted, how much the bond will be.

Can the immigration judge deny me a bond altogether?

Yes. Immigration judges have broad discretion to grant or deny bonds. Even if you have little or no criminal history, an immigration judge can still deny you a bond if they feel you are a flight risk. However, you do have the right to appeal an immigration judge’s decision on your bond application.

How do I pay the immigration bond?

An immigration bond can be paid at any ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ICE ERO) office in the U.S. The person who goes to post the bond must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. It is advisable that the bond be paid using a postal money order, as some ICE ERO offices will not accept any other form of payment.

Will I get the bond money back?

Yes, as long as you comply with all orders of U.S. immigration authorities going forward. If you win your immigration case, the bond money will be returned to whoever posted it. If you lose your case, you must depart the United States when required in order for the bond money to be returned to the person who posted it. In the latter case, you may need to go to the U.S. embassy in your home country to have them stamp a form proving you have departed the U.S. You can then mail that form to ICE ERO, and they will return the bond money to whoever posted it.


To be deported, an immigration judge must first determine whether a person is removable, in other words deportable, by analyzing whether or not the deportation laws actually apply to them. This determination is the first step in the immigration court process, and presents an opportunity for some immigrants to have their cases thrown out, or terminated, to use the legal term. There are several ways that a deportation case my be terminated by an immigration judge. These include:

Proving U.S. Citizenship

A U.S. citizen cannot be deported. Some people who were born outside the United States might be U.S. citizens and not even know it. This is especially true when one or both of a person’s parents is a U.S. citizenship. Whether somebody inherited (or “derived”, to use the legal term) U.S. citizenship from a parent is a very complicated question and will typically require the aide of an attorney to answer. If you can show an immigration judge that you are in fact a U.S. citizen, your deportation case will be dismissed.

Putting the Prosecutor to Their Burden

In many deportation cases, especially those in which the alien has a prior lawful admission to the United States, the U.S. government must prove you are deportable. If their evidence on that point is missing, flawed, or in some other way insufficient, an immigration judge might decide the government has not met its burden of proof, in which case your deportation proceedings will be dismissed. A skilled immigration attorney can help you point out problems with the government’s evidence against you.

Motions to Suppress

If the U.S. government obtained evidence against you through illegal means that violate the U.S. Constitution, it may be possible to have that evidence thrown out by filing a motion to suppress. If the government’s evidence is suppressed, your case will likely be terminated. Motions to suppress are complicated and require a great deal of legal research. The assistance of an experienced immigration attorney is recommended.


Even if an immigration judge decides you are deportable, there are frequent options for “relief,” meaning ways in which you can ask to stay legally in the United States, usually by making an application for a green card or other legal status with the immigration judge. Some options for relief include Asylum, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Cancellation of Removal, Adjustment of Status, and Immigration Waivers. For more information about Asylum and TPS  CLICK HERE. Continue reading below for additional information on the other forms of relief.

Cancellation of Removal for Non-Permanent Residents

Also known in Spanish as the “La Ley de Diez Años,” (The Ten Year Rule), Cancellation of Removal for Non-permanent Residents is a green card application for people with no legal status in the United States. To qualify, you must show you have been physically present in the United States for at least 10 years, you are a person of good moral character, you have no disqualifying criminal history, and that you have a spouse, parent or child that is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident that will suffer “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” if you are deported.

Cancellation of Removal for Permanent Residents

Certain crimes can cause a permanent resident to be placed in deportation proceedings. However, many permanent residents are eligible to save their green cards by applying for Cancellation of Removal in immigration court. To qualify for Cancellation of Removal, the permanent resident must have held a green card for at least 5 years, lived in the United States for at least 7 years after a legal entry to the United States, and have no crimes qualifying as an aggravated felony under the U.S. immigration laws.

Adjustment of Status

Some people are eligible to apply for their green card in immigration court based on a petition filed by a family member, employer, or even a petition for oneself under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) or as a Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ). Additionally, sometimes a permanent resident whose green card is about to be revoked can re-apply for permanent residence based on a petition. Applying for a green card based on any kind of petition is called “adjustment of status.”


Some immigration problems, including certain crimes, immigration fraud/misrepresentations, and issues with unlawful presence in the United States, can be waived with an appropriate immigration waiver. Both green card holders and non-permanent residents can benefit from applying for an waiver in immigration court.