Every year, thousands of immigrants, many of whom are lawful residents of the United States, are arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and warehoused in detention centers while they attempt to fight to remain in the United States.
Immigrant detention removes people from their families and communities, endangers their houses, jobs, public benefits, and healthcare, and prevents them from adequately defending their right to remain in their home. Since detention limits the opportunity to obtain high quality legal representation, it denies people the chance to make their legal case for staying in the US. Although many immigrants are granted bonds they remain detained simply because they cannot afford to pay their bonds.
By raising money to help post bonds for those who cannot otherwise afford it, individuals are empowered to resist their deportation, and return to their homes, jobs, families, and communities while they await their hearing.
José is a father, who for nine months, was detained by ICE and unable to care for his daughter. Jose moved to the U.S. when he was 15-years-old--more than two decades ago. He was granted a $20,000 bond but raising that amount is personally out of his reach. As a result, he was stuck in detention and unable to defend himself or provide crucial evidence to a judge that could allow him to obtain permanent legal status.
After nine months, we were able to pay most of José's bond and gain his release. Now José is staying with his cousin while he prepares for his hearing in July. He is able to see his 9-year-old daughter and collect evidence to try to stay in the United States with his daughter and community of more than two decades.
*Statistics from Northern California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice, “Access to Justice for Immigrant Families and Communities: Study of Legal Representation of Detained Immigrants in Northern California,” Oct. 2014 and Executive Office of Immigration Review statistics.