Texas-Based Nonprofit Says It’s Paying $2.1 Million to Free 200 Detained Immigrants in 20 States

A U.S. Border Patrol vehicle sits parked outside a detention facility for unaccompanied minors on Sept. 8, 2014 in McAllen, Texas. (Credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

A U.S. Border Patrol vehicle sits parked outside a detention facility for unaccompanied minors on Sept. 8, 2014 in McAllen, Texas. (Credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

An immigrant advocacy group says it’s using $2.1 million in donations to pay bonds for about 200 detained immigrants in 20 states.

The Texas-based nonprofit known as RAICES says it’s teaming up with a network of organizations and volunteers across the United States to make the payments on Wednesday.

It’s a large-scale, daylong effort aimed at bringing more attention to how many immigrants are detained and giving hundreds of people a better shot at winning their cases.

“Nothing like this has really happened before,” said Blake Vera, interim director of the group’s bond fund.

The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, widely known as RAICES, drew national attention and millions of dollars in donations last year during the family separations crisis at the border.

Based on the average contribution amount to the RAICES Bond Fund, support from more than 25,000 donors contributed to Wednesday’s bond payments, the organization said.

Final numbers about exactly how much bond money was paid and how many people could be released are expected to be available later Wednesday, RAICES said. Some paperwork has already been filed, according to the organization, but the bond payments are still being processed.

More than 47,000 people are being held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody nationwide, according to the agency’s latest publicly released statistics.

ICE can decide to grant bond to detained immigrants. So can immigration judges. But the amount varies in each case, and not all detained immigrants are deemed eligible.

Bond amounts expected to be paid on Wednesday range from $1,000 to $25,000, RAICES said.

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