A regularly updated bulletin for Minnesota Freedom Fund related news and events.
IMMIGRATION BOND FUNDRAISER
Four days a week folks who are detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are brought before the court. Many who are facing return to their country of origin ask for nothing more than the opportunity to cash their paychecks, sell their cars, and put their affairs in order before departure. Others request the opportunity to gain asylum here in the US as a result of their extended residence, threat of harm if they return to their country of origin, or a handful of other reasons.
But for both of these groups there is a significant obstacle they face, the price of cash bail.
While not all individuals detained by ICE are offered the option, a comparatively small number are given the chance to leave ICE’s jails if they can pay a sum of money. Known as bond, this money is designed to ensure that they will appear at future court hearings. For some it is a chance to put their affairs in order and cash pay checks before returning home, for others it dramatically increases their chances of gaining asylum and staying in the US. The difference between making bond and being stuck in detention makes a huge difference for every detainee. It is the difference between the possibility of being reunited with family, gaining a chance to stay here, or being returned to jail for months or years while your case works it’s way through a thoroughly broken immigration system.
A coalition of community organizations is responding to this intolerable state of affairs by piloting a fund that will pay bond for those stuck in ICE detention and unable to secure release. Once those individuals are released we will ensure that they are connected with the support they need to complete their cases. When those cases resolve we will collect that money and put it toward freeing others. Such a bond fund will not solve all of the challenges of our broken immigration system, but it offers us a way to push back on an increasing aggressive detention system that seeks to forcibly remove members of our communities.
Misdemeanor and Felony Case Studies
The cases discussed in this summary relate to Freedom Fund clients who benefited from our program during the month of January, 2017. Hennepin County Public Defenders were asked to send information about cases in which the Freedom Fund posted bail. As of the date of this memo (February 17, 2017), the Freedom Fund has posted bail in seventeen cases in Hennepin County since its inception. In all but one case, clients have appeared and bail money has been returned to the Freedom Fund. The identities of our clients and the attorneys that represent them have been concealed to protect their privacy.