ICE Now Requires Online Bond Payment for Release of Detained Immigrants

July 17, 2023
Linda Sanchez Ortega

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has implemented the Cash Electronic Bonds Online (CeBONDS). CeBONDS is a web-based system that provides a completely automated, online capability to request verification of bond eligibility, make cash immigration bond payments, and send electronic notifications to cash bond obligors for release of detained immigrants.  

Persons pursuing release from ICE detention on a cash bond have to secure the assistance of an obligor. An obligor is an individual who pays the bond and makes sure that the released person will fulfill the requirements of their release. Previously, obligors needed to go to their local ICE office to make the bond payment. Obligors, however, often faced obstacles when paying the bond, which ranged from a lack of clearly posted hours of operation to contradictory policies about payment form. These obstacles often lead to avoidable delays in releasing the detained person.  

ICE’s CeBONDS webpage aims at correcting those obstacles by creating a more transparent and uniform process by allowing obligors to initiate and complete several of the steps required for bond payments online without the need to visit a local ICE office. Obligors will need to create an account on ICE’s CeBONDS webpage and follow the required steps. These steps include identity verification, uploading documents to verify the obligor’s immigration status, and electronically completing the Obligor Contract, Form I-352. Only U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, certain non-profit organizations, and law firms can pay bonds using CeBONDS. 

Once the system verifies these required submissions on the CeBONDs webpage, obligors must go to a bank and pay the bond using Fedwire (a high-speed, real-time, electronic funds transfer system operated by the Federal Reserve Bank) or Automated Clearing House (ACH). ICE’s website notes that detained persons will typically be released by the end of the day after the bond is approved and signed. 

ICE has stated it will generally no longer accept in-person payments as of June 1, 2023. Questions, however, remain about how ICE will address circumstances where using CeBONDS is not an option. For example, it is not an option in cases where obligors do not have a bank account or lack the tech savviness to go through the sign-up process. Per ICE, after June 1, 2023, people seeking an exception to using CeBONDS can contact the local field office for assistance. Thus far, ICE has NOT provided set guidelines on the type of circumstances that would warrant an exception to using this new site.  

Individuals requiring additional assistance or experiencing an issue accessing the CeBONDS website can email or contact their nearest ICE Field Office. 

If you have any questions regarding posting a bond, do not hesitate to contact our office at (312) 427-6163 or schedule a consultation online. 

The material contained in this alert does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only. An attorney-client relationship is not presumed or intended by receipt or review of this presentation. The information provided should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.

© 2023 Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. All rights reserved. Information may not be reproduced, displayed, modified, or distributed without the express prior written permission of Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C.

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