Supreme Court Decision Could Mean Indefinite Custody for Immigrants
By Cho Yin Rachel Lo 3/1/2018
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that immigrants, even those having permanent legal status or seeking asylum, can be held by immigration officials indefinitely without bond hearings.
Immigration advocates argue that those who are detained should not be held for longer than six months without a bond hearing. Many of these immigrants should have the right to be free on bail until their cases are heard.
In the case, Jennings v. Rodriguez, plaintiff Alejandro Rodriguez is a legal permanent resident who was convicted for joyriding as a teenager and possessing a controlled substance at 24. For three years, he was held in custody by immigration officials without a bond hearing.
According to The Hill, the Supreme Court ruled that immigrants do not have the right to periodic bond hearings in its 5-3 decision. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito said, “Immigration officials are authorized to detain certain aliens in the course of immigration proceedings while they determine whether those aliens may be lawfully present in the country.” Justice Elena Kagan recused herself because of her previous position as President Obama’s solicitor general.
This ruling follows a Trump administration appeal of a federal court decision that said detained immigrants who do not pose threat to national security should be allowed to receive a bond hearing every six months.
The American Civil Liberties Union took up Rodriguez’s case and filed a class-action lawsuit. He won cancellation of his deportation order and stays in America.