The issue of immigrant indefinite detention has occupied plenty of time in the federal courts.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would re-hear a case considering whether immigrants who were detained by the government have a right to a bond hearing to challenge their indefinite detention.
A report on NPR noted the case was originally argued in Nov. 2016. That was six months before Justice Neil Gorsuch filled the vacant seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia.
NPR reported this case has significant implications for legal permanent residents who the government is seeking to deport because they committed crimes. It also has an impact on asylum seekers who are seeking a court date after surrendering themselves at the U.S. border.
Attorneys and advocates acting for the immigrants claim many of them have the right to be free on bail until their case is heard.
The case sees David Jennings, a California-based field office director at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in California go up against Alejandro Rodriguez a legal permanent resident, who came to the U.S. as a child and worked here as a dental assistant.
Rodriguez was convicted of joyriding when he was a teenager. At the age of 24, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.
Green card holders are not guaranteed the same protections from deportation as U.S. citizens. Committing a crime can lead to your loss of permanent residency, we note on our website.
The Rodriguez case is drawn out. More than a decade ago, in 2004, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement began deportation proceedings against Rodriguez. The dental assistant was detained for three years without being afforded the right to appear before a judge to ask for bond.
Rodriguez’s case was taken up by The American Civil Liberties Union. A class action lawsuit was filed. It was successful and Rodriguez won his release. He remained in the United States.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that immigrant detainees and asylum seekers cannot be detained indefinitely. They have a right to a bond hearing every six months.
The appellate court held that to hold these detainees, the government must make a case that immigrants would pose a danger or be a flight risk if they were released.
The Obama administration appealed the Court of Appeals ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. It insisted that Congress rather than the courts has the power to make immigration law.
The federal government is arguing the law allows the government to detain “criminal and terrorist aliens” as well as aliens who are seeking admission to the United States.
The administration argues detained immigrants should not be recognized as a class with the capacity to bring legal action. Justice Department lawyers said detainees instead should rely on individual habeas corpus petitions to challenge detentions.
The ACLU is contesting this approach. It argues that few detainees have access to legal representation and a backlog of these habeas corpus petitions means major delays in securing release.
Immigrant indefinite detention has become one of the key battlegrounds of the immigration debate. If you or a family member is concerned about a detention matter, please call our Austin immigration lawyers at (512) 474-4445.