U.S. Supreme Court to decide if his ‘crimes reflect permanent incorrigibility’

Saul Bowman
March 21, 2019

It would be a steep uphill climb for Democrats' proposed reforms to gain political support, with critics warning that a packing of the Supreme Court when a Democrat is president would be met with tit-for-tat responses by Republicans when they return to power.

Trump's measures to curb migration have faced numerous court challenges. "But, as has so often been the case, when either or both of the rights of immigrants and the War on Drugs are involved, the court is more than happy to ignore these traditions", Lemieux said.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday endorsed the United States government's authority to detain immigrants awaiting deportation anytime - potentially even years - after they have completed prison terms for criminal convictions, handing President Donald Trump a victory as he pursues hardline immigration policies.

"So if they can't catch up through the ballot box by winning an election, they want to try doing it in a different way", Trump said at a White House press event with his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro.

However, conservative Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the ruling, said that it was not up to the Supreme Court to enforce a time limit within which immigration authorities could take action.

The five to four decision was met with a vigorous dissent from the Court's liberal bloc led by Justice Stephen Breyer, who said the majority was enabling the detention and possible deportation of foreign nationals for minor crimes they committed in the distant past.

"For a high percentage of them, it will turn out after months of custody that they will not be removed from the country because they are eligible by statute to receive a form of relief from removal such as cancellation of removal", Breyer wrote.


In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that life sentences with parole are unconstitutional for juveniles. In each case, litigation against the federal government started before Trump took office.

The issue in the case before the justices had to do with the detention of noncitizens who have committed a broad range of crimes that make them deportable.

In one case, Mony Preap, a legal permanent resident from Cambodia was arrested and convicted of marijuana possession in 2006. Federal law mandates detention for certain aliens while awaiting deportation proceedings, he said.

The 9th Circuit had ruled that convicted immigrants who are not immediately detained by immigration authorities after finishing their sentences but then later picked up by immigration authorities could seek bond hearings to argue for their release.

A five-justice majority said aliens facing deportation may be held in immigration jails without bond hearings in February 2018.

The 5-4 decision, which reverses a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, is widely viewed as a victory for the Trump administration and its hardline immigration policies.

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