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Supreme Court Sides With Trump on Detention of Criminal Aliens

Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2019
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by Outside Contributor
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12 Comments
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The Supreme Court affirmed the federal government’s authority to detain illegal aliens with criminal records at any time after they have completed their prison terms, handing a victory to immigration authorities and the administration of President Donald Trump.

The court ruled 5–4 that federal authorities could apprehend and detain aliens with criminal records at any time, not only immediately after their release from prison.

Under federal immigration law, aliens convicted of certain offenses are subject to mandatory and indefinite detention during their deportation process.

Challengers seized on a provision in the law which stated that the government can detain convicted aliens “when the alien is released” from criminal detention. The challengers argued that the language limits the time of legal detention to a 24-hour window immediately after aliens are released. The Trump administration argued the government should have the power to detain such aliens anytime.

The top court’s decision is significant because dozens of so-called “sanctuary cities” around the nation have passed laws instructing local law enforcement officers against cooperating with federal immigration authorities. As a result, immigration officers face mounting obstacles to detaining convicted aliens when they complete their prison terms.

The ruling, authored by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, stated that it isn’t the court’s job to impose a time limit for when aliens can be detained after serving a prison sentence. Alito noted that the court has said in the past that “an official’s crucial duties are better carried out late than never.”

Alito said the challengers’ assertion that aliens had to be detained within 24 hours of ending a prison sentence is “especially hard to swallow.”

The March 19 decision follows a February 2018 ruling in a similar case in which the court curbed the ability of aliens held in long-term detention during deportation proceedings to argue for release.

In both of the detention cases, the Supreme Court reversed the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, a leftist court that Trump has frequently criticized. In each case, litigation against the federal government started before Trump took office.

In the latest case, the administration had appealed a 2016 9th Circuit ruling that favored immigrants, a decision it said would undermine the government’s ability to deport immigrants who have committed crimes.

The appeals court had said that convicted immigrants who are not immediately detained by immigration authorities after finishing their sentences but then later picked up by immigration authorities could seek bond hearings to argue for their release.

The plaintiffs included two legal residents involved in separate lawsuits filed in 2013, a Cambodian immigrant named Mony Preap convicted of marijuana possession and a Palestinian immigrant named Bassam Yusuf Khoury convicted of attempting to manufacture a controlled substance.

In the most significant immigration-related case recently before the court, the conservative justices were also in the majority in June 2018 when they upheld a 5–4 vote on Trump’s travel ban that targeted terrorism-prone countries.

In April 2018, the court issued a ruling that could hinder the administration’s ability to step up the removal of aliens with criminal records, invalidating a provision in another law, the Immigration and Nationality Act.

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Jack Thomas
Jack Thomas
4 years ago

It’s high time that SCOTUS got it right on the detention and deportation of criminal illegals. The four Justices who voted against this decision
should be sent to the Rush Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies for extended “corrective therapy.”

Every mayor of every “sanctuary city” and every governor who has or wants to make his State a “sanctuary state” should be arrested and thrown in jail. The mayor of Oakland, California once bragged that she would issue a warning to tip off illegals in her city that an ICE raid was coming. The Feds should show up with a warrant for her arrest and cite her for obstructing the enforcement of U.S. immigration law. Do the same with any other government official who openly defies our immigration laws. We’ll see how long they want to keep their coveted sanctuary status. The other thing to do is shut down the 9th Circus Court of Appeals. It’s a joke! It’s the only federal court in the country that holds the record for having many of its rulings overturned by SCOTUS.

Todd Wingard Taylor
Todd Wingard Taylor
4 years ago

The Supreme Courts job is to uphold and enforce the law, not make or ignore it; judiciary activism is illegal. For those judges who want to legislate from the bench I see, in my opinion, impeachment; the Constitution is clear; there should be separation of powers demonstrated and defined for the three branches of government; the roles of the Judiciary, Legislative and Executive are clearly defined; they should never overlap. Why do the American people not understand this. This has clearly brought us to a dangerous point in American history.

Richard Lilly
Richard Lilly
4 years ago

This should have been a 9-0 decision. Shame on those 4 lunatics.

G. Giant
G. Giant
4 years ago

So when will the SCOTUS get smart enough to see that ILLEGAL means the person is a criminal. They should all be deported. No need for any corrupt judge to claim THEY have to be given “constitutional” rights.

Karla C.
Karla C.
4 years ago

I just wish there was a way for the supreme court to somehow illigitimize the 9th circuit court, as well as a way for the fed gov’t to “slap down” and maybe even (as scary as it sounds for the feds to do) haul off some of these mayors and city officials!

Steve
Steve
4 years ago

What is frightening is that 4 dimwits voted to allow these criminals to continue to kill us. We all need guns.

Kenny
Kenny
4 years ago

Every ILLEGLE immigrant has committed a crime. They came into my country illeagally, that’s a CRIME. There is a leagle way to come into our country, but they don’t think it applies to themselves. EVERY ONE WHO BREAKS THE LAW BY COMING INTO MY COUNTRY ILLEGALLY SHOULD BE DEPORTED IMMEADIATELY ALONG WITH ALL FAMILY MEMBERS INCLUDING CHILDREN AND BABIES.

shawn
shawn
4 years ago

once again, the 9th gets “slapped down”. Judges have usurped a role they were NEVER given–making policy! Wish they would stick to constitution, but I wonder if some of them have ever read it!

Frank S.
Frank S.
4 years ago

That four Supreme Court justices even voted for continuing the lunatic policies of the “progressive” left really concerns me. Attempting to legislate from the bench is so antithetical to the U.S. Constitution. They have no shame! If for no other reason, THIS is why we can’t let the Democrats back in the White House!

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