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Certain Immigrants Can Be Detained Indefinitely, Supreme Court Rules

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Cole Crystal Contributor
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The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the government can indefinitely detain select migrants subject to deportation who claim they will face persecution if they are deported back to their country of origin.

The court ruled 6-3 that immigrants are not entitled to a bond hearing until their claims can be verified by the government. Liberal Justices Sonya Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan dissented from the ruling.

For detained immigrants who seek to halt their removal proceedings, “those aliens are not entitled to a bond hearing,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority.

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 23: Associate Justice Samuel Alito sits during a group photo of the Justices at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on April 23, 2021. (Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

Associate Justice Samuel Alito sits during a group photo of the Justices at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on April 23, 2021. (Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

The case, Johnson v. Guzman Chavez, pertains to those who have faced previous deportation and have been caught again, claiming that they would be harmed if returned to their home country. Immigration officers may establish whether those attempting to stay have a “reasonable fear,” before either sending them back to their place of origin or introducing their claims to the legal system, Justice Alito explained.

What was debated, however, was whether these immigrants can be held in abeyance without seeing an immigration judge, potentially indefinitely. (RELATED: Trump Announces Trip To ‘Lawless’ Southern Border)

Alito argued that the Trump administration’s position, that the relevant immigration provision does not necessitate a bond hearing, was more compelling.

“But why would Congress want to deny a bond hearing to individuals who reasonably fear persecution or torture, and, as a result, face proceedings that may last for many months or years…? I can find no satisfactory answer to this question,” Breyer wrote in his dissent from the ruling.

The Associated Press reported that Tuesday’s decision sets a nationwide rule which will affect some lawyers and a small subset of noncitizens.

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