U.S. Supreme Court building, Washington, D.C/ Pixabay
The ruling applies to immigrants who have already been deported once and say they’ll face persecution or torture if returned home.
By Alisa Reznick | Arizona Public Media
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling Tuesday allows the government to detain some immigrants indefinitely. The decision applies to immigrants who have already received one deportation order in the U.S. and have been detained while trying to enter the U.S. again.
Immigrants who say they fear returning to their home countries are assessed by an asylum officer who determines whether that fear is credible. Laura St. John, legal director Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, said it’s the beginning of a process that could take years. The new ruling eliminates the possibility for immigrants who’ve already been given one deportation order to have a hearing to determine whether they can be released to wait for the next steps.
“A certain population of people seeking protection in this country are going to be denied the opportunity to ever have a bond hearing,” she said. “And that means not only do they not have the right to be released, it means they don’t have the right to even ask a judge to consider whether they even need to be detained.”
St. John said there’s a lot of reasons someone could be ordered deported once already, including language barriers and lack of legal representation, or they could have returned home and been faced with new threats from which they’d need protection.
“Despite having very valid claims for relief that have been vetted by asylum officers, these individuals are going to face potentially years of detention, I myself have worked with people in this procedural posture, seeking witholding of removal, who have been detained for upwards of four years, at taxpayer expense,” she said.
This ruling is not a surprise to immigration lawyers and advocates, given the current composition of the court, but all the same is still a brutal blow to many non-citizens held in immigration custody who may have very viable claims for relief but will now not be statutorily eligible for release. There are other avenues to get out of immigration custody while proceeding with a case, such as a request for humanitarian parole, but all the same, this ruling will make an already difficult process even more trying for many.Darius Amiri, chairman of the Rose Law Group Immigration Dept.