Supreme Court Hears Crucial Case on Immigration Detention

Recognizing Constitutional right to hearings could curb Trump enforcement plans

On November 30, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Jennings v, Rodriguez, a case that could dramatically affect the new administration’s plans to deport millions of immigrants. President-elect Donald Trump has promised to detain immigrants facing removal while courts hear their cases. The threat of prolonged detention is punitive and harms immigrant families and communities with large immigrant populations.

U.S. citizens have the constitutional right to a bond hearing and the possibility of release when facing civil or criminal detention. The question before the Supreme Court is whether immigrants have similar legal rights when faced with indefinite detention in immigration enforcement proceedings.

The class-action lawsuit before the Court was brought by immigrants who have spent long periods in custody, including many who are legal residents of the United States or who are seeking asylum. According to the ACLU, which represents the plaintiffs, more than 40,000 immigrants are currently detained awaiting deportation. That number could balloon exponentially if the new administration follows through on its pledge to ramp up deportations.

Recognizing a right to individual bail hearings would provide crucial protection and safeguards for immigrants in enforcement proceedings.

The Asian Americans Advancing Justice affiliation submitted an amicus brief in the case, led by Advancing Justice — Los Angeles. As the brief explains:

“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have a strong interest in this case in light of their long and troubled experience with our immigration system. Much of modern immigration legal doctrine relies on cases concerning racist laws that were enacted over a century ago specifically to exclude Asian American and Pacific Islander immigrants.”

To learn more about the history of laws targeting Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and the harms of prolonged immigration detention, read our brief.