Supreme Court Strengthens Government’s Ability to Detain Legal Immigrants

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court made a decision this past Tuesday that the U.S. government can detain legal immigrants without the need of a hearing. This can even happen months after they have served their prison sentence.
This was a 5-4 decision that reversed an earlier ruling. This is viewed as a significant victory for the current administration. The prior ruling was released by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
Similar to the Obama administration, the Trump administration believes that the government should have the authority to detain immigrants for deportation whenever they want. The prior requirement of detaining immigrants only immediately after a jail sentence is no longer applicable.
Justice Samuel Alito was outspoken in his support of the measure. He stated that immigration law can be used to detain immigrant’s years after they’ve served their sentence.
On the other hand, Justice Stephen Breyer felt that this ruling gave the central government too much authority. He stated that the current law was sufficient, which declares that the government cannot detain a legal immigrant absent of a legal hearing unless that person was detained after being released from custody relating to a criminal conviction.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling came as a response to two different class-action cases.
Mony Preap, a legal permanent resident of Cambodian descent, was convicted on the charge of marijuana possession in 2006. Federal authorities failed to detain him until 2013. This happened after he received a second sentence for battery, which is considered a non-deportable offense.
Another similar case occurred when Bassam Yusuf Khoury was detained two years after serving a 30-day sentence for a drug charge in 2011. Khoury was kept in custody for six months after finally winning out his case. Khoury still remains in the United States to this day.
In both of these cases, the American Civil Liberties Union defended each plaintiff.
To read more about this, check out the original at NPR.

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