By Cassandra Fairbanks
The Supreme Court issued a ruling on Tuesday that illegal immigrants who re-enter the United States after being deported are not entitled to bond hearings.
There was a 6-3 split decision between liberal and conservative judges on the decision.
Attorneys for the migrants had argued that because they were seeking withholding hearings, the law governing final orders does not apply to them.
Fox News reports that the court’s decision “held that a federal statute requiring detention for non-residents who have already received an administratively final removal order applied, even though the illegal immigrants were seeking withholding hearings to keep them from being sent back to their countries of origin. The court ruled that because they were now facing removal based on the reinstatement of the previous final order, they were not entitled to a hearing to argue for release.”
Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the court’s opinion that this does not mean that an illegal alien can be indefinitely detained.
“Although the statute does not specify a time limit on how long DHS may detain an alien in the post-removal period, this Court has ‘read an implicit limitation’ into the statute ‘in light of the Constitution’s demands,’ and has held that an alien may be detained only for ‘a period reasonably necessary to bring about that alien’s removal from the United States,’” he wrote.
Justice Alito added that the court has found this reasonable period to be six months. If they are still detained after six months, there may be a possibility of release.
Alito wrote that withholding hearings are “limited to a determination of whether the alien is eligible for withholding or deferral of removal,” and as such, “all parties are prohibited from raising or considering any other issues, including but not limited to issues of admissibility, deportability, eligibility for waivers, and eligibility for any other form of relief.”
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissenting opinion that some withholding proceedings have been found to take more than a year, or even two years, to be resolved.
The Fox report noted that “in cases where a person reenters after already being deported, there is an expedited process where the Department of Homeland Security obtains the previous order, confirms the person’s identity, determines whether their latest entry was unauthorized, gives them an opportunity to contest a finding that they reentered illegally, and unless they succeed the old order is reinstated.”
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