How America’s Bond System Keeps Immigrants Behind Bars

Immigrants, over 30,000 of whom are in custody right now, are regularly denied bail bonds or offered bond that's too expensive, forcing them to stay in jail while they wait for authorities to process their case.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Max Rivlin-Nadler
April 19, 2016

Tags: Criminal Justice, Deportation, Immigration Process

Organizations mentioned/involved: Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) (Washington State)


Whether or not a detained immigrant is even offered bond is up to the discretion of a judge. “Someone who has been living here with family members, has status, and has lived here for many years is going to have a greater possibility of getting a bond than someone who just came here seeking asylum and doesn’t know anybody,” said Matt Adams, legal director for Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, which provides legal services for detained immigrants.

But new arrivals—including asylum-seekers—are less likely to be offered a bond, because judges usually deem them “a flight risk,” according to Adams.