U.S. Supreme Court To Decide Timeline For Detaining Immigrants After Release From Criminal Custody

March 19, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide how much time the government gets to detain an immigrant indefinitely after they are released from criminal custody.

To hold some noncitizens without a bond hearing, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has said immigration authorities must detain them “promptly” after their release from criminal custody.

But a handful of other circuit courts have ruled that a gap in custody does not rule out mandatory, indefinite detention.

The Supreme Court’s decision will come down to a plain reading of current law, said Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.

“Does that language of ‘is released’ mean immediate upon release? Or can it mean seven years after the fact?” she said.

The administrations of both former President Barack Obama and current President Donald Trump have argued the law allows for years to pass between criminal release and immigration detention, Pierce said.