Supreme Court Takes Up New Immigration Dispute

On Monday, the US Supreme Court elected to take up a new dispute on immigrant detention, agreeing to hear the Trump administration’s appeal to a ruling by a lower court, which it claims hinders the deportation of criminal immigrants. The case is the latest in several disputes about immigration to have been heard by the nine justices at a time when a hard line has been taken toward immigrants by the Trump administration.

The new case deals with convicted criminal immigrants detained for possible deportation by the US government once they have finished their sentences, with further detention mandatory under federal immigration law, possibly indefinitely, without the need for another bond hearing.

In 2016, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, ruled that immigrants with criminal convictions who were not immediately taken into custody by immigration authorities following completion of their sentence could not then be indefinitely detained while awaiting potential deportation, declaring that they had the right to seek a bond hearing to be able to argue for their release. The Trump administration has stepped up immigration enforcement, increasing the numbers of those facing deportation, and has been battling sanctuary cities and states that try to protect undocumented immigrants.

American Civil Liberties Union attorney, Michael Tan, who is representing several immigrants filing suits, says that bond hearings are vital to ensuring the prevention of arbitrary and pointless detentions.