The Work of EICBP
The Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project works with bond-eligible detained immigrants and their families to pay their bond and get them back in the community.
We focus on people who are eligible for relief from deportation or have extensive ties to the community. People released on bond have better chances of getting to stay in the community: nationally, 68% of people released on bond are ultimately not removed from the United States, compared to an overall removal rate of 46%.
We bond people out of detention to protest and resist unfair policies, to keep families together, and to mitigate the damage our immigration enforcement system does to the health and strength of Iowa communities.
Our goal is to support and defend some of Iowa’s most marginalized populations: those without regularized immigration status or financial resources to navigate the immigration system.
The Bond Project’s work is especially valuable now: in the first seven months of 2017, total arrests of immigrants in the interior of the US increased by 43% from the end of 2016. The number of interior arrests of non-citizens never convicted of any crime has almost tripled.
Why does posting bond matter?
It is harder to get legal representation while detained:—from 2007 to 2012, only 14% of detained immigrants had legal representation.
Getting released from detention is increasingly important to the outcome of the case: in the past 10 years, the proportion of people released on bond and not removed has increased from 1/3 to 2/3.
Even though it is associated with better outcomes, getting released on bond is becoming less common: In the Omaha Immigration Court, almost 70% of new cases in fiscal year 2018 have been detained cases. In fiscal year 2017, only 35% of new cases were detained cases.
About Immigration Bond
Immigrants who cannot afford bond remain in jail due to their poverty alone, regardless of alleged “flight risk.” The minimum bond amount in immigration court is $1,500, but bond amounts set by Immigration Judges vary. The average bond is $5,000 – $7,000.
Once the immigrant’s case is resolved, the bond money is returned to EICBP and we can use it to pay another bond.