Top U.S. Court Curbs Rights of Immigrants Awaiting Deportation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an announcement on immigration reform in the Roosevelt Room of the White House August 2017. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday curbed the ability of immigrants held in long-term detention during deportation proceedings to argue for their release in a ruling in sync with President Donald Trump’s get-tough approach toward immigration.

The justices, in a 5-3 decision, overturned a lower court’s ruling that required that immigrants held by the U.S. government who are awaiting the outcome of deportation proceedings get a bond hearing after six months of detention to seek their release.

The court’s five conservatives were in the majority and three liberals dissented. Another liberal, Justice Elena Kagan, did not participate in the ruling.

The court threw out a 2015 decision by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which had ruled that the government must provide bond hearings to gauge danger and flight risk when detention exceeds six months, and every six months after that. Former President Barack Obama’s Justice Department appealed that ruling.

Class-action litigation brought by the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the U.S. government’s practice of placing immigrants facing deportation proceedings in detention for months or years without a chance to argue for release.

The case assumed added importance in light of the Trump administration’s decision to ramp up immigration enforcement, with growing numbers of people likely to end up in detention awaiting deportation.