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This morning, the US Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Jennings v. Rodriguez, slip No. 15-1204 (2018), an immigration case where there appears to be no right to a bond hearing after six months of detention for immigrants in detention. The Court remanded the case back to the lower court to determine whether prolonged detention is unconstitutional. This is a disappointing decision but here is AILA’s initial reaction to the decision.

AILA President Annaluisa Padilla noted, “The Court’s ruling that the Ninth Circuit misapplied the canon of constitutional avoidance in holding that detained aliens have the right to periodic bond hearings is disappointing, but it is limited to just that. Today’s decision does not mean that immigrants may be detained indefinitely and it does not mean that prolonged detention is constitutional. In a time when the Trump administration is expanding detention of those seeking protection under our laws and ramping up enforcement to the detriment of families, communities, and our national values, it behooves us to understand what this decision means. Let’s be clear: Constitutional review of individual detention decisions remains alive.”

Jeremy McKinney, AILA National Secretary added, “This is a narrow decision by five members of the Court, who concluded that the Ninth Circuit misapplied a doctrine of constitutional law to conclude that the detention provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act include an automatic right to a bond hearing after six months of detention, and periodic review thereafter. The decision was made over the strong dissent of three members of the Court, while one recused herself and did not weigh in. Still in place are the decisions of several Circuit Courts, including Reid v. Donelan, Sopo v. AG, and Chavez-Alvarez v. Warden York County Prison, where detention was found to be constitutionally suspect in individual cases. Notwithstanding today’s decision, the battle against prolonged detention without a hearing wages on.”