Jareyah Bradley, Balestramedia

For Immediate Release: February 27, 2018
Contact: Jareyah Bradley, jareyah [at] balestramedia.com, 908.242.4822

SCOTUS Ruling Denies Immigrants’ Right to Fair Day in Court, Says Immigrant Legal Resource Center

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed and remanded a ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which found that immigrants who are otherwise subject to mandatory detention have the right to periodic bond hearings. The case will return to the federal appeals court for a decision on the constitutionality of the statutes.

The Supreme Court ruling further jeopardizes access to the courts, as subjecting individuals to mandatory detention means that an immigration judge does not have the authority to consider an individual’s bond case. As stated in his dissent, Justice Breyer noted that the average time of detention is a year and is often much longer, adding that “many of those whom the government detains eventually obtain the relief they seek.” In other words, subjecting individuals to mandatory detention means that individuals may be incarcerated for months or even years without the ability to request bond, as they fight often meritorious immigration cases.

Said Grisel Ruiz, staff attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:

“This Supreme Court decision reaffirms that there is no such thing as a fair day in court for immigrants. The ruling aims to strip immigrants of the opportunity to have a judicial determination on whether they qualify for release from custody. While the private prison industry may celebrate the fact that they can rake in profits from longer incarcerations, it is a sad day for our justice system. Our constitutionally protected right to due process is again under siege as certain immigrants may not have the opportunity to have their bond case heard by a judge, despite having deeply rooted community ties.

“This is a strike against the thousands of immigrants in California currently incarcerated in often deplorable conditions, in one of the state’s 10 immigration jails. Rather than finding that everyone deserves a fair day in court, the Supreme Court has exacerbated the curtailing of basic rights to immigrants. California has passed new laws to halt the growth of immigration jails in the state and must continue to stand firm in defense of its sanctuary policy. Until our justice system is color-blind and able to treat immigrants equally under law, we must end the cycle of incarceration that defaults to locking immigrants behind bars rather than providing meaningful access to our courts.”

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) trains legal groups in California and nationwide on how to represent clients in removal and bond proceedings through in-person trainings, webinars, practice advisories, and other individualized support. The ILRC has also worked with the Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement, Immigrant Youth Coalition, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance and other immigrant rights organizations, to pass legislation (SB 29 & AB 103) that halt the growth of immigration jails in California and increase transparency.

For interviews, please contact Jareyah Bradley at jareyah [at] balestramedia.com or 908.242.4822.


About the Immigrant Legal Resource Center

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC’s mission is to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities. www.ilrc.org