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We recently won a bond case where the odds were definitely stacked against us. Our client was his country’s biggest reggaeton star. Masked policemen pulled over our client and his three bandmates and threatened at gunpoint to kill them if they didn’t make a monthly “protection” payment. Our client and his bandmates were scared for their lives and tried unsuccessfully to come up with the amount demanded by the police. After failing to receive the first payment, the police shot and killed our client’s bandmates. Luckily, the police did not see our client or he also would have been murdered. Our client fled his country the next week and was immediately detained and placed in removal proceedings after entering the U.S.

After our client sat in detention for six months, the immigration judge held a hearing and denied his application for asylum. We shortly thereafter requested a bond. The immigration judge denied bond because he deemed our client a “flight risk.” In other words, the immigration judge felt that there was a high risk that our client would not show up for any future hearings if he were released on bond. The immigration judge gave no reason for this finding, and our client remained detained.

Several months later, a U.S. District Court judge in Columbus, GA issued an order in an immigration-based habeas corpus case requiring that the government bear the burden of proving a bond applicant to be a flight risk or a danger to the community. Previously, in immigration proceedings, the foreign national had always borne the burden of showing he or she was not a flight risk or a danger to the community.

We then asked the immigration judge for a second bond hearing due to the change in law. At our second bond hearing, the immigration judge understood that the government had no basis for arguing our client was a flight risk, i.e. the government failed to carry its burden of proof. The immigration judge granted our client a bond, our client’s family paid the bond the next day, and our client was released after spending almost 16 months in detention.

Most criminal convictions will lead the government to argue that the noncitizen poses a danger to the community. Likewise, the government usually argues that recent arrivals to the U.S. pose a flight risk. In the absence of one or more serious criminal convictions, though, there is often no valid reason to detain a noncitizen who is waiting for an immigration judge to hear his or her case.

Immigration bond proceedings require an experienced immigration attorney who can present a strong, documented argument for a bond to the immigration judge. Call the immigration attorneys at Antonini and Cohen if you have a loved one in immigration detention anywhere in the U.S. Our immigration attorneys have almost a hundred years of combined immigration experience. We know how to make a strong argument for a bond. Call us for a consultation.


For more information or questions about how these new policies might impact you, reach out anytime online or give us a call (404) 850-9394 for assistance with any immigration issue you’re facing.

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