How Today’s SCOTUS Hearing Will Impact Detained Undocumented Immigrants

By Sameer Rao Nov 30, 2016

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) began hearing arguments today (November 30) for a case that could provide thousands of undocumented immigrants with the chance to avoid indefinite detention.

The ruling for Jennings v. Rodriguez will ultimately determine if the government has a constitutional obligation to offer bond hearings for undocumented immigrants who have been held in mandatory detention for six months. The Court will further rule on whether or not those held in detention are entitled to release in the United States during said hearings unless the government determines otherwise. 

The current case originated with a 2007 class-action lawsuit by Alejandro Rodriguez, a legal resident from Mexico who was held in detention for three years without a bond hearing on drug possession charges. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in Rodriguez’s favor, and SCOTUS agreed to hear the case after the federal government appealed the circuit court’s ruling six times. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorneys served as Rodriguez’s legal counsel during the initial lawsuit, and they continue to represent him.

If SCOTUS rules in Rodriguez’s favor and upholds the Ninth Circuit’s decision, the ruling could complicate President-elect Donald Trump‘s plan to deport millions of undocumented immigrants. That prospective ruling could also impact the backlog of more than 521,000 still-unheard immigration court cases.

Read the full transcript of today’s arguments here.

(H/t, VICE, The Marshall Project, International Business Times)