The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the US government’s authority to detain noncitizens awaiting deportation at any time following their release from local or state custody.
The lawsuit was brought by a group of noncitizens from Washington and California who cited language from the Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act – which states the US government can detain convicted illegals “when the alien is released” from prison.
As interpreted by the Trump Administration, this means the government can detain criminal illegals and place them into indefinite detention anytime after they are released from prison – even years later.
Plaintiffs insisted immigrants would need to be detained within 24 hours of their release from prison; otherwise they should have the opportunity to argue for release as deportation proceedings move forward.
In its 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court upheld the Trump Administration’s interpretation of the law. The court also upheld the government’s power to determine who is released and who is detained based on a person’s perceived danger to the surrounding community.
“An official’s crucial duties are better carried out late than never,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito, who said it wasn’t the court’s job to impose time limits for when an illegal alien can be detained.
The ruling is a major victory for President Trump ahead of the 2020 election and an embarrassment for the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court, which had sided with the plaintiffs.
In his dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote: “I would have thought that Congress…did not intend to allow the government to apprehend persons years after their release from prison and hold them indefinitely without a bail hearing.”
Author’s Note: This is a huge victory for Trump and a major defeat for the 9th Circuit, which has repeatedly attacked and delayed Trump’s policies.
With the Supreme Court now structured in favor of conservatives, you would think the 9th would give up its attacks on Trump in favor of preserving its reputation. Either way, Tuesday’s ruling proves the Supreme Court will be a reliable foil to the 9th Circuit in future arguments.