Supreme Court Ruled Immigrants Can Be Detained Indefinitely

Related Story

WESLACO – The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that detained immigrants do not have a right to periodic bond hearings during their detention.

The ruling came down on this class action lawsuit. It stems from a case of a man detained for three years without the ability to parole.

His attorneys were able to get him released. Others may not be seeing that same benefit with this ruling.

In a five to three ruling, the Supreme Court decided the law doesn't give certain classes of immigrants the right to periodic bond hearings during the term of detention.

It affects the following classes of immigrants: those who say they intend to apply for asylum or state credible fear of persecution; those in the country convicted of certain criminal offenses since admission; those considered inadmissible due to fraud, misrepresentation or lack of documentation at time of entry and those in the country pending outcome of removal proceedings.

Immigration attorney Leonel Perez says many of his clients wait an average of 13 months in detention. This ruling will mean they can be held indefinitely. He fears it will create desperation.

"Some people are not willing to wait that time. So, they give up. ‘I'll tell you what, just deport me.’ So, even if they had a right or they may have had a chance to remain in the United States, they will not do it," said Perez.

The long wait could create other challenges.

"There's just not enough beds for everybody. I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know if at which point in time the people that will need to be detained exceed the number of beds that are available. So, what's going to happen then? Are people going to be released and under what circumstances? Who will be released?" said Perez.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the class action lawsuit. They estimate it costs more than $2 billion a year to house detainees.

Those in detention are allowed to hire an attorney. If denied bond, they can still take legal measures to try to have that decision reversed. Perez says, realistically, not many can afford that.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS filed a Freedom of Information Act request nearly six months ago following a DACA recipient detained for hours at the Falfurrias checkpoint on Sept. 11, 2017.

Since that incident, she hasn't crossed back through the checkpoint. We obtained the memo about CBP procedure on DACA recipients.

We also requested CBP directives related to the treatment of DACA recipients. You can read the full response below.


7 Days