Bad news has come down from the Supreme Court this week, in the ongoing battle for the human rights of immigrants living within the borders of the United States government. This Tuesday, the court ruled that any immigrant can be held indefinitely without trial or charges, even if they have permanent legal status or are seeking asylum.
The decision came down in a 5-3 ruling and reverses an earlier appeal which granted immigrants the right to be given a bond hearing every six months.
“Immigration officials are authorized to detain certain aliens in the course of immigration proceedings while they determine whether those aliens may be lawfully present in the country,” Justice Samuel Alito stated in the ruling.
Justice Stephen Breyer, one of the few judges who voted “NO” on the ruling, said, “Would the Constitution leave the Government free to starve, beat, or lash those held within our boundaries? If not, then, whatever the legal fiction, how can the Constitution authorize the Government to imprison arbitrarily those who, whatever we might pretend, are in reality right here in the United States? We need only recall the words of the Declaration of Independence, in particular, its insistence that all men and women have ‘certain unalienable Rights,’ and that among them is the right to ‘Liberty.’”
The ruling has been overwhelmingly opposed by human rights activists.
“How can we as a nation, remain a haven for the prosecuted when we lock up asylum seekers — who are in this country legally to escape violence — for prolonged periods of time without access to an immigration court custody hearing?” Eleanor Acer of Human Rights First told NBC.
As politicians and bureaucrats squabble about policy, immigration agents are still tearing families apart across the entire country and pointing guns towards anyone who wants to cross an imaginary line in the dirt.
As we reported last month, a 39-year-old husband and father by the name of Jorge Garcia was torn from his family and deported because ICE determined that he was too old to qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an amnesty program that once allowed children residence in the United States.
Garcia has been living in the US since he was 10 years old when his parents crossed the border in search of a better life. Garcia is an upstanding citizen and has no criminal record.
Throughout the past decade, immigration police have become increasingly aggressive towards immigrants, and have been given new power under the Trump administration to arrest, detain and deport undocumented people, and even those who have attempted to go through legal channels to gain citizenship.
Over the years, the US government has been slowly expanding the criteria that allow them to detain people without charges or a trial. In 2011, the US government passed the NDAA, which gave them legal authority to arbitrarily arrest anyone suspected of terrorism and hold them without a trial. Now, they have extended that criteria to apply to apply to any immigrant, even those who are here on legal visas.
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