National Immigration Forum

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Matching Funds for Due Process

February 15, 2010 - Posted by Maurice Belanger

Scales of Justice

Our friends at the National Immigrant Bond Fund recently posted a video recalling an immigration raid that was conducted on a printer factory in Van Nuys, California (Southern California) two years ago.  More than 100 armed ICE agents stormed the factory and arrested 150 workers.  Immigrants were required to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet (and were required to have a land line phone so they could be reached).  The alternative to this virtual house arrest was release on bond.

It is often the case that immigration violators who have been arrested and detained (or, in this case, having to stay where their movements can be monitored) cannot scrape together the money to make bond even if they are offered release on bond.  If a defendant cannot make bond, chances are slim that the individual will be able to assert his or her due process rights—by, for example, pursuing avenues that may be available to stay in the U.S.  They are much more likely to be deported even if they might have had a valid claim to stay in the U.S.

Being out on bond makes it much more likely that the individual will be able to find an attorney and get other assistance.  In the case of the immigrants picked up in the Van Nuys raid, being released on bond allowed them to have their day in court.  Many of them had remedies available to them.  According to the video, after two years everyone who wants to be in the U.S. is still here. 

When an immigration raid happens, even where there is an outpouring of support in the community for the arrested immigrants, there is only so much a community can do to help.  The Bond Fund makes the community national.  It aggregates donations from people who want to help no matter where they live.  It works with local organizations in communities that have suffered an immigration enforcement action and loans money to match funds raised by the detainee’s family and friends.  This way, one community does not have to shoulder the burden of helping all of the victims of a raid come up with funds to gain their release and assert their due process rights.

A donation to the Bond Fund is one way you can help immigrants gain a little bit of justice while we all wait for Congress to act so that immigrant workers and family members no longer need fear being jailed for working without permission.

To see the video, and to make a donation to the Bond Fund, click here.

Photo by Flickr user srqpix.

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