US Supreme Court rules immigration detainees not guaranteed bond hearings News
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US Supreme Court rules immigration detainees not guaranteed bond hearings

The US Supreme Court Monday ruled in two separate cases that undocumented immigrants who are detained for more than six months are not entitled to a bond hearing. Johnson v. Arteaga-Martinez was unanimous, with only Justice Breyer dissenting in part, while Garland v. Aleman Gonzalez was a 6-3 decision.

The first case concerned Antonio Arteaga-Martinez, an immigrant from Mexico who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2018 for entering the US illegally six years prior. Though Arteaga-Martinez had no criminal record, he was never afforded an opportunity to be bonded out of detention. After Arteaga-Martinez sued to be allowed a hearing, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed that Arteaga-Martinez was allowed a hearing under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which says that detainees held beyond the removal period of six months must be declared a risk by the Attorney General. The Supreme Court reversed the Third Circuit’s decision.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor noted that the court ruled in Jennings v. Rodriguez that detained noncitizens are not entitled to periodic bond hearings. She wrote in her opinion that:

On its face, the statute says nothing about bond hearings before immigration judges or burdens of proof, nor does it provide any other indication that such procedures are required. Faithfully applying our precedent, the Court can [not] discern such requirements from the text of §1231(a)(6).

Garland pertained to two US District Court cases where district judges said that immigrants detained without a bond hearing for longer than six months constitute a class and are entitled to injunctive relief. Justice Samuel Alito, along with the majority of the court, disagreed. Alito wrote in his opinion that “thecritical language in [§1252(f)(1)] strips lower courts of ‘jurisdiction or authority’ to ‘enjoin or restrain the operation of ‘ the relevant statutory provisions. The ordinary meaning of these terms bars the class-wide relief awarded by the two District Courts.”

Justice Sotomayor wrote a partial dissent, to which Justices Kagan and Breyer joined. Sotomayor said that:

Section 1252(f )(1)’s primary clause provides that the lower federal courts may not “enjoin or restrain the operation of ” the specified provisions of the INA. An injunction that compels the Executive Branch to comply with the specified provisions (or, phrased differently, prohibits the unlawful implementation of the specified provisions) does not “enjoin or restrain” the “operation” of those provisions.

She also asserted that “unlawful agency action is not a part of the functioning or working of the authorizing statute,” meaning she would permit lower courts to review executive decisions which fall out of the INA’s scope.