WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court heard arguments today in Jennings v. Rodriguez, a case that will decide the fate of thousands of people languishing in immigration prisons. American Civil Liberties Union attorney Ahilan Arulanantham argued the case.
At issue is the federal government’s practice of locking up immigrants for months or years without a hearing to determine if their imprisonment is justified. Immigrants facing the possibility of deportation can wind up in detention as they pursue their case to remain in the U.S. This includes lawful permanent residents, asylum seekers, and survivors of torture. Many of these people will ultimately win their cases, but are first forced to unjustly suffer prolonged detention.
The ACLU challenged the government and won in the lower courts, including a 2015 federal appeals court decision requiring hearings for immigrants once their detention exceeds six months. The government appealed.
“Lower courts were right to strike down the government’s draconian policy of locking up immigrants for years without a hearing,” said Arulanantham. “We are hopeful that the Supreme Court, which has long held that the right to a hearing is a bedrock due process requirement, will agree.”
In addition to violating due process, prolonged immigration detention has a devastating impact on families and communities, and is costly to taxpayers.
Read the related blogs:
“In America, No One — Including Immigrants — Should Be Locked Up Without Due Process of Law”https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/america-no-one-including-immigrants-should-be-locked-without-due-process-law
“After 50 Years as a Legal Immigrant, I Spent 18 Months in Immigration Detention Without a Bail Hearing” https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/after-50-years-legal-immigrant-i-spent-18-months-immigration-detention-without
More information about this case is at: https://www.aclu.org/cases/jennings-v-rodriguez