Boston financier Robert Hildreth has formed the National Immigrant Bond Fund in an effort to aid arrested illegal aliens, the Washington Times reports. Critics fear the fund could make it easier for illegal aliens to disappear after being released on bail.

The fund will allow arrested illegal aliens who do not have any outstanding criminal violations to apply for financial assistance through churches, legal organizations or open-border groups. If approved, the fund covers half the bail money and the illegal aliens cover the rest.

The Times notes the fund is intended to help illegal aliens gain access to the court system and avoid being sent directly into deportation proceedings. It also is intended to build public opposition to ICE enforcement actions.

The fund was initially set up three months ago and has aided 100 people thus far, including 10 of the 46 illegal aliens arrested at an ICE raid of an Annapolis painting company last month. It is being overseen by Public Interest Projects, a non-profit supported by open-borders groups and religious leaders.

Critics who raise concerns about the effort point to 572,000 fugitive aliens who have failed to leave the country under court order, and suggest that the bond fund could add to the ranks of absconders. Moreover, it is important to remember that the vast majority of illegal aliens that were caught crossing the border and released under their own recognizance pending a hearing – a common practice under the "catch and release" program previously run by DHS -- failed to show up for such hearings. Release on bond would not be free in this case, because illegal aliens would have to pony up half the bail money, but a question arises as to whether this would be a sufficient deterrent to just walking away.
Interior Enforcement

Updated: Tue, Aug 12th 2008 @ 2:13pm EDT