Immigrant detainees who cannot afford the cost of their bond may soon be able to receive financial help from a new fund established by a coalition of local organizations in San Diego. The San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (SDIRC) has organized the Borderlands Get Free Bond Fund and is now accepting applications from immigrants who have links to Imperial County or San Diego County.
The bond fund is the first specifically intended to help immigrants who live, or are being held, in the southernmost counties of the state of California. The chairwoman of SDIRC, Lillian Serrano, says that it is usually those on low incomes who most suffer in regards to detention because of the costs associated with the system. She added that she has firsthand experience of seeing families having to sell everything they own to try and have their loved ones released from detention while fighting to remain in the US.
Immigration detention facilities are not intended to be a form of punishment, as officials are only allowed to detain people waiting for their immigration court hearing if they have a strong belief that they are dangerous to society or are unlikely to attend immigration hearings.
The federal government uses the assigning of a set bond amount as a way of ensuring said immigrants will attend immigration court, but even the minimum bond of $1500 can be prohibitive for those seeking asylum or who come from low-income families.