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Supreme Court hears case on immigration detention

People in Florida and across the country may be concerned about the outcome of an immigration case that has reached the U.S. Supreme Court, particularly as the decision may hang on the votes of two Trump appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. On Oct. 10, the high court heard arguments from Trump administration lawyers arguing for greater authority to detain immigrants pending deportation after the completion of criminal sentences. In some cases, these periods of detention could drag on for years after a jail or prison sentence expired.

A lower court ruled against the expanded immigration detention authority sought by the Trump administration, which has made a political priority of action on immigration. The administration appealed the ruling, claiming that it undermines its ability to deport immigrants who have been convicted of crimes. In the past, however, at least one Trump-appointed justice has sided with the liberal wing of the Supreme Court in ruling against expanded government power to detain people without hearings. In an April 5-4 decision, Gorsuch opposed the administration’s policies seeking to escalate post-conviction immigrant deportation.

The current case involves two legal residents of the U.S. — one man found guilty of marijuana possession and the other of attempting to manufacture a controlled substance. Federal immigration law mandates the detention of immigrants with criminal convictions during a deportation process, even denying them a bond hearing despite the length of their detention. However, a federal circuit court ruled that an immigrant who is not immediately detained after their sentence expires has the right to a bond hearing and cannot be held indefinitely. Now, the decision rests with the high court.

The administration’s rhetoric has sparked fear and concern, especially among people dealing directly with issues of immigration detention and deportation. An immigration lawyer can help someone potentially facing deportation to mount a strong defense and protect their rights.