DAILY CALLER — The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will decide whether illegal immigrants held in U.S. custody longer than six months are eligible for a bond hearing, where they can petition for their release.
A class action lawsuit challenging the federal government’s practice of holding illegal immigrants without the benefit of a bond hearing was first organized by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2008. In October 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling which ordered that bond hearings be held for every illegal immigrant in American custody longer than six months. The Ninth Circuit said that current federal practice violated constitutional due-process guarantees.
During such a hearing, an individual in detention may petition for their release by demonstrating they are not a threat to public safety and by promising to report to all court-ordered appearances.
The federal government petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case, arguing that the Ninth Circuit placed an unreasonably high burden on federal prosecutors, and that extended periods of detention for illegal immigrants are not punitive measures but administrative challenges — there are currently 492,978 pending immigration cases and only 250 federal immigration judges.
The problem is compounded because judges are assigned to specific jurisdictions, and only hear cases within their assigned district. For example, there are nearly 93,000 immigration hearings currently pending in California, but only 16 immigration judges.
The case will be heard and decided during the Supreme Court’s next term, which begins in October.