Immigration officials can hold immigrants in detention indefinitely without
providing them bond hearings, even if they are a legal permanent resident
or asylum seekers, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in February.
The ruling followed a Trump administration appeal of a ruling by the Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals last year that established a rule which required
immigrants held in custody be granted a bond hearing every six months,
as long as they aren’t considered a danger to national security
or a flight risk.
The court wrote in its 5-3 opinion, “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.”
It claimed that the decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was
based on “implausible constructions” of immigration laws.
The lead plaintiff of
Jennings v. Rodriguez, Alejandro Rodriguez, is an immigrant with permanent legal status who
was convicted of joyriding when he was a teenager and pleaded guilty to
misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance at 24. He was detained
for three years without the right to appear before a judge to request a bond.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU) eventually took the case and
successfully won a class-action lawsuit that resulted in Rodriguez’s
release and the cancellation of his deportation order. He remains in the
The government’s appeal was started under the Obama administration,
and continued after President Trump took office last year. The Trump administration
also argued that detained immigrants not be recognized as a class that
could bring legal action, but rather rely on individual habeas corpus
petitions to challenge their detentions.
The ACLU countered that few detainees have access to legal representation
and that a backlog of such habeas corpus petitions nearly guarantees delays
in a successful release.
For more information,
Santa Barbara immigration lawyer at
Appel & Morse today.