A previous Ninth Circuit ruling that had made it a requirement for detained immigrants to have regularly scheduled bond hearings, was overturned by the Supreme Court with a 5-3 vote on Tuesday, Feb. 27. Now, many immigration rights advocates fear that the detainees will be forced to spend extended periods of time in detention until their cases are fully processed through the court system.
Immigration laws in this country have long made it where asylum seekers and noncitizens with certain criminal convictions on their records have been detained upon attempting to enter the United States. They’d typically be held until their cases were heard by an immigration judge.
Even then, though, they were permitted bond hearings every six months. It’s at those hearings that the onus fell on federal agents to prove that the detainee was unlikely to appear for hearings or posed some type of danger to society.
The case that led to the Supreme Court becoming involved started with a Mexican greencard holder who’d previously been convicted on both a misdemeanor drug charge and for joyriding.
At the time that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stepped into his matter to request a bond hearing, he’d been held in detention by immigration authorities for three years. After much legal wrangling, ACLU attorneys were able to convince a judge that holding someone in detention indefinitely was unconstitutional. The man ultimately got his bond hearing.
With the latest Supreme Court ruling, though, it would appear that other detainees won’t be afforded the same opportunity to plead their case for release on bond. The Supreme Court justices decided to have lower court judges revisit whether the detention is constitutional in the first place.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under President Trump’s direction, has been given some authority to decide whether or not to detain an individual. They tend to air on the side of detention pending bond hearings.
Those detained in Los Angeles will still be entitled to bond hearings although those in Imperial or San Diego countries will not. The Department of Justice hopes this will free up immigration judges up to deal with its 650,000 current cases.
Previously scheduled bond hearings will still be heard.
If your loved one is being held in custody without any promise of a bond hearing, then a San Diego attorney can advise you of your rights in your legal matter.
Source: San Diego Union Tribune, “Supreme Court decision means many immigrants will stay in detention for longer,” Kate Morissey, Feb. 27, 2018