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How To Pay an Immigration Bond

A Guidebook by the Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights in collaboration with St. Mary Student Parish and St. Francis of Assisi Parish

When a member of the community is detained, s/he may be released after the payment of a bond. Essentially a “bond” is a fee meant to encourage the individual to return to ICE offices. When one pays a bond, s/he is entitled to receive those funds back when s/he returns to the bond office as instructed and follows through with all obligations. Sometimes this means that the bond money is returned only after the person is deported.

LOCATION

Those detained in Washtenaw County most frequently have to pay their bonds at 260 Mt Elliott St. in Detroit between the hours of 8 am and 2 pm.

A FEW NOTES ON THE PROCESS

  1. Detroit ICE Community Relations Officer states that “in general, the would-be obligor should have a valid status (and documentary evidence of said status) and a cashier’s check for the full amount of the bond.” That is, undocumented community members can not pay bonds.
  2. The money has to be made into USPS money orders (or multiple money orders) or cashier’s checks written out to the Department of Homeland Security, and then brought to the Detroit office. The remitter on the check must be the person who is posting the bond.
  3. While in the office, be prepared to wait up to 7 hours to post the bond.
  4. We recommend calling the Detroit ICE Office for questions about bond posting at (313) 394-2500 before you go. The control specialist is at extension (2508). We recommend you confirm the existence of the bond in question before arriving; it is possible that paperwork may not have been processed.  
  5. When you arrive, you’ll be asked to complete a form at the counter with the information you brought with you (described below) and then will be asked to sit and wait. Complete this paperwork immediately since this dictates order for the day.
  6. We recommend bringing a few things with you: cashiers checks/money orders, passport (if you have one, though don’t give it unless asked), identification, your social security number, and information about the person whose bond you are paying WRITTEN DOWN. This information should include the name and A# of the person whose bond you are paying, and the address and phone number where the person will stay after release. Be aware of variations of spellings of surnames, as well as missing or hyphenated names. You may also be shown a photo of the person detained and asked if s/he is the person for whom you are posting bond.
    1. There are a range of mistakes made when community members are booked into detention. Names are incorrect, or the order of multiple last names is ignored. Dates of birth may also be incorrect. An A# is usually accurate. You can often get this number directly from the individual, or from his family. Sometimes, you can call the jail directly and they will provide it, though they often frequently refuse.
  7. If you are not the person who will pick up the detained individual, then you should be prepared to provide the name and phone number of the person who will, as ICE agents will inform the jail.  That person will not need to provide any paperwork at the jail.
  8. For a full description of the process for getting the bond money back afterwards see: https://cliniclegal.org/resources/immigration-bond-how-get-your-money-back

SOME NOTES ABOUT THE LOCATION

  1. There is free parking down the block and around the corner on the street.
  2. There is no food, and you’re not allowed cell phones in this building (so keep cell in your car); bring something to do and a snack!
  3. There are bathrooms and a drinking fountain inside.
  4. Often they do NOT have interpreters! So try to bring someone who can interpret, if needed. You can also ask someone in the waiting room for help, though clearly there is no guarantee that someone will be available.
  5. Depending on time of day (traffic) it can take over an hour and 15 minutes to get there from Ann Arbor, so leave plenty of time.
  6. Ask WICIR for gas money to be reimbursed if needed!
  7. Make sure you drive with an active license and insurance, and carefully.
  8. There is a post office less than a mile away where money orders can be purchased. Sometimes, a SSN is requested. Getting a certified check through any bank where you have an account may save you from paying the money order fees.

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Want to print this information? Download the guidebook: How to Pay an Immigration Bond