Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project

Bond (also called bail) is one of two primary factors, in addition to obtaining legal defense, that will determine if an immigrant arrested by Immigration Customs Enforcement aka ICE will be deported or granted relief.

This is not due process.  This is not justice.  

Our mission is to increase access to due process within the immigration justice system by providing bail funds and additional legal support to immigrants detained by Immigrations Customs Enforcement.

Our goal is to break down barriers to fair immigration court proceedings for vulnerable populations who otherwise would not be able to post bail fees and access legal support due to low socio-economic status.

Our vision is to challenge a system that results in poorer outcomes for individuals based solely on one’s economic status. We aim to recognize and protect the contributions of under-documented and immigrant people to our lives and communities.

Who is at risk of deportation in Iowa?

About 160,000 Iowa residents are immigrants (5% of the state population). Over 60,000 Iowa immigrants are naturalized citizens. There are 40,000 undocumented immigrants in Iowa—the group at greatest risk of deportation. Undocumented immigrants have many different stories—some enter with visas and stay past the expiration date, some enter the United States with no status, and some arrive as children with no knowledge of their immigration status.

Many undocumented immigrants are part of mixed-status families, or households that include immigrants with visas, legal permanent residents, naturalized citizens and US-born citizens. Nearly 60,000 Iowans live with an undocumented family member. Nearly 40% of undocumented immigrants in Iowa live with US citizen children under 18.

Undocumented immigrants enrich Iowa communities, joining local faith communities, raising their children, and contributing to Iowa’s economy. Undocumented immigrants in Iowa paid an estimated 37 million dollars in state and local taxes in 2014.

Immigrants to Iowa are diverse, hailing from every corner of the world.

Immigration Enforcement

The federal government makes and enforces immigration laws in the U.S.. Federal laws control who is allowed to enter the U.S., who can apply for status, and who can be deported. Immigration officials often work with local law enforcement, but local agencies are not required to enforce federal laws.

An immigration case starts when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests someone and charges them with being deportable from the U.S.. When a person is charged with being deportable, they have the right to a hearing in immigration court. The immigration court system is part of the Department of Justice. In court, an attorney from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for proving that the person can be lawfully deported from the U.S.

Being placed in deportation proceedings does not mean that a person has no lawful status in the U.S.—people of any status can be charged with being deportable. A person in deportation proceedings has the right to contest the charges against them, and also has the right to apply for different forms of relief from deportation.

An immigration judge decides whether the person is deportable from the U.S. If they are, the judge decides whether they are entitled to any kind of relief from deportation. At the end of the case, a person is either deported or granted.

Due Process

A fundamental principle of our laws in the U.S. is due process. The Constitution says that “No person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law . . .”

Due process means that everyone who is charged with being deportable has the right to a fair hearing.Just as this right doesn’t depend on race, gender, or religion, it doesn’t depend on immigration status. A fair hearing in immigration court means that people who have a path to relief from deportation have the chance to make their case and get a fair decision.

Whether a person is detained should not affect the outcome of their case– but people who get out of detention on bond and get legal representation have a much better chance of being granted relief and getting to stay in their community.

People in detention suffer isolating and inhumane conditions in detention centers, separation from family, and loss of housing and employment. Many detained immigrants choose deportation rather than face these conditions, even when they may have a case for relief.

Posting Bond

Posting bond slows the deportation process down. Immigrants are allowed to return home to their families, continue to work in our community, and obtain legal representation while their case is pending – there is currently a backlog in immigration cases, so individuals may have years of bonded time to prepare their case, or get their family ready to face deportation. The hope is that with adequate legal representation and assistance, individuals are able to figure out a remedy or eventual pathway to U.S. Citizenship.

Defend Immigrants

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