In a 5-3 decision in Jennings vs. Rodriguez last Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court ruled that immigrants subject to mandatory detention do not have a right to a periodic bond hearing.
With this decision, reversing an earlier ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that gave those in detention in the Ninth Circuit the opportunity for a bond hearing after six months, individuals with cases before the Immigration Court could be held indefinitely. It is no secret that immigration courts in the United States are heavily backlogged and understaffed. Cases can take months or years to resolve and often without an opportunity for bond. This means that many men and women detained by ICE face the prospect of prolonged detention.
For many in the immigration community, attorneys and advocates alike, Rodriguez v. Robbins, along with Lora v. Shanahan in the Second Circuit, gave hope to those subject to mandatory detention to eventually be released on bond. The case will head back to the Ninth Circuit to evaluate the constitutionality of indefinite detention, leaving the for-profit prison system to reap the benefits.
On the upside, a federal judge in California ruled that beneficiaries of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) cannot have their protections revoked without due process. There are now three lower court decisions that rebuke the Trump administration’s attempts to dismantle the program. As a result of these decisions, the government is required to continue the adjudication of DACA renewals. About six in ten Americans, according to a CNN poll, favor protections for men and women that arrived to the United States as children.
Despite support for the program, which provides work permits and deferred action from deportation, the DACA debate is far from over. The futures of countless men and women are still in limbo with Republicans and Democrats in Congress still in deadlock over legislation to replace the Obama-era program.