Immigrants in Detention Lose Rights

On Tuesday, in a ruling that lines up with the tougher approach toward immigration embraced by President Donald Trump, the Supreme Court curbed the legal right of immigrants to argue for their release while they are held in long-term detention, awaiting deportation proceedings.

The conservative justices in the court ruled 5-3 to overrule a ruling from a lower court, which insisted that immigrants should get a bond hearing after being in detention for six months by the US government while awaiting deportation proceedings to seek release. The decision could result in some classes of immigrants being held in indefinite detention, even some who the government wishes to deport, despite having legal status.

Conservative Justice, Samuel Alito, wrote the ruling, with three liberals dissenting, and sharp criticism of the decision made by Justice, Stephen Breyer, who believes that denying bail is a violation of due process. Justice, Elena Kagan, did not take part in the ruling. The government’s practice of putting immigrants in detention for months, or even years, while awaiting deportation proceedings without the chance to legally argue for their release was challenged in a court action by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Breyer said that when the US Congress crafted the immigration provisions relevant to the case, he doubted they intended them for use to imprison thousands of people for long periods without the chance of release, an assertion Alito described as “utterly implausible”.