Can Aliens in Immigration Proceedings Be Detained Indefinitely? High Court Rules on Statutory, but not Constitutional Authority [April 3, 2018] [open pdf - 542KB]
"Recently, the Supreme Court in 'Jennings v. Rodriguez' interpreted provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) as authorizing the potentially indefinite detention of certain categories of aliens, without bond, who are awaiting removal proceedings. The Court reversed a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Ninth Circuit), which upheld a federal district court's injunction requiring aliens detained under one of three statutes to be afforded a bond hearing, and potentially be released from custody, if held longer than six months. Because the indefinite detention of at least some categories of aliens covered by the challenged statutes would arguably raise constitutional concerns, the Ninth Circuit had construed the statutes so that the period in which they authorized detention without bail was limited to six months. But the Supreme Court ruled that this interpretation was implausible given the statutes' text, and the Court held that the statutes provided no limit to the length of an alien's detention pending removal proceedings. Upon remand, the lower courts may confront the constitutional question their earlier interpretation of the challenged statutes was intended to avoid: Is it constitutionally permissible for the government to indefinitely detain aliens during immigration proceedings?"
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