Representation at Bond Hearings Rising but Outcomes Have Not Improved

Nationally representation rates for detained immigrants at bond hearings has been rising. For the eight months of FY 2020 fully two out of every three (66%) detained immigrants were represented at their bond hearings. This is almost double the representation rate five years ago when just 35 percent were represented at bond hearings. This increase in representation has occurred despite the fact that the demand for attorneys has also grown as the number of bond hearings also has been increasing.

Despite the rising rate of representation, bond grant rates have not improved. During FY 2015 and FY 2016, immigration judges granted bond at 56 percent of these hearings. This fell to 50 percent during FY 2018. Since FY 2018 grant rates have fallen to 48 percent where they have remained for the last three years.

Median bond amounts for the first eight months of FY 2020 have risen to $8,500 up from $8,000 in FY 2019. This is also an increase from $7,500 during FY 2017 and FY 2018.

The following three graphs summarize these trends. More details by state, court, hearing location and nationality are available in TRAC's free web query tool covering bond decisions, as well as subsequent case dispositions after detained immigrants are granted bond. Data now available cover the period October 2000 through May 2020.

Figure 1. Immigration Court Bond Hearings, FY 2015 - FY 2020 (through May)
(Click on individual images to enlarge)
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