They sit and wait. They are immigrants who have come to the United States seeking asylum, as well as undocumented immigrants and legal immigrants who have been convicted of crimes. They sit and wait in detention centers (including one here in San Diego) because they are not given the opportunity to post bond. And they sit and wait now for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
The nation’s high court last week heard Jennings vs. Rodriguez, a case that revolves around immigrants held for extended periods in detention centers without bond hearings.
As you know, almost all U.S. are granted bond hearings after an arrest. But some immigrants are held for years without ever having the opportunity to post bond.
“It’s a widespread, unauthorized punishment that has grown up in the immigrantion system,” said an immigrantion expert interviewed by a media outlet.
Even if the people being held are not considered flight risks and do not have violent criminal backgrounds, they cannot get a bond hearing. An attorney with the American immigrantion Council says the question isn’t about whether a particular individual should get bond, but whether an entire class of people “should even get the right to ask to get bond.”
One of the plaintiffs in the suit, Alejandro Rodriguez, legally entered the U.S. as a baby. In 2003, he was sentenced to probation on a drug possession charge, but because he wasn’t a citizen and he had a joyriding conviction on his record, he was taken into custody for a removal hearing.
He waited three years in detention before the hearing took place. He prevailed in the hearing, but he paid a heavy price, having to spend three years away from his children.
Those held in detention, as well as their families, will anxiously await the Supreme Court’s decision.
Those facing a removal hearing or detention can get experienced, skilled representation from a San Diego immigrantion attorney.