The Stanford Immigrants’ Rights Clinic (IRC) joined forces with UC Davis’ Immigration Law Clinic for a report published in April revealing that the federal government’s immigration bond system is a $1.5 billion operation. The report, based on records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, also details that the federal government is holding more than $200 million owed to immigrants and their families.
The federal government’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency detains thousands of immigrants each year. Detained immigrants or their families may pay an immigration bond to secure release from ICE custody while their immigration case is pending. The new report illustrates how the immigration bond system creates a series of obstacles for those attempting to recoup their money once an immigration case is resolved.
“The loss of millions of dollars that legally belong to immigrants and their families is an indictment of the broken immigration detention system,” says Jennifer Stark, IRC clinical supervising attorney and lecturer in law. Added Jayashri Srikantiah, IRC director and professor of law, “ICE should be required to adopt more transparent policies to ensure that immigrants and their families can recover their bond money.”
Work on this project has spanned several years with much of it done by Matthew Sellers and Nayha Arora, both JD ’17, under the supervision of Srikantiah and Stark.