by Daveda Gruber:
On Tuesday the Supreme Court ruled, with conservative judges in the majority, on an immigration issue. The decision makes it easier to detain immigrants with criminal records.
The ruling was clearly a victory for the Trump administration. It was authored by conservative Justice Samuel Alito and left open the possibility that some individual immigrants could challenge their detention.
A group of mostly green card holders argued that unless immigrants were picked up immediately after finishing their prison sentence, they should get a hearing to argue for their release while deportation proceedings go forward.
The law states the government can detain convicted immigrants “when the alien is released” from criminal detention. Civil rights lawyers argued the point that the language of the law shows that it applies only immediately after immigrants are released. On the other hand, the Trump administration said the government should have the power to detain such immigrants anytime.
The Tuesday decision was 5-4 ruling that federal immigration officials can detain undocumented immigrants at any time after their release from local or state custody.
The court also ruled that the government maintains broad discretion to decide who would represent a danger to the community in deciding who to release or detain.
Back in October, the Trump administration had argued that given the limited money and manpower available, it was almost impossible for the federal government to detain every immigrant immediately upon their release from custody.
Alito wrote that “neither the statute’s text nor its structure” supported the immigrants’ argument.
The court’s four more liberal justices differed in opinion from the conservative ones. Justice Stephen Breyer took the rare step of reading an oral disagreement from the bench.