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Supreme Court Rules Certain Immigrants Can Be Held Indefinitely

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion


In a decision that has infuriated many Democrats online, the Supreme Court has issued a decision that says that the United States government can indefinitely detain some migrants who claim they will face torture or persecution if they return to their home nations.

The conservative justices stood united against the liberal justices in the 6 – 3 decision on Tuesday written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, The Associated Press reported.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court that “those aliens are not entitled to a bond hearing.”

The case involves people who had been previously deported and, when detained after re-entering the United States illegally, claimed that they would be persecuted or tortured if sent back. One man is a citizen of El Salvador who said he was immediately threatened by a gang after being deported from the U.S.

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An immigration officer determined that the immigrants had a “reasonable fear” for their safety if returned to their countries, setting in motion an evaluation process that can take months or years.

The issue for the court was whether the government could hold the immigrants without having an immigration judge weigh in. The immigrants and the Trump administration, which briefed and argued the case before President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January, pointed to different provisions of immigration law to make their respective cases.

Alito, in his opinion for the court, wrote that the administration’s argument that the relevant provision does not provide for a bond hearing was more persuasive.

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Justice Stephen Breyer penned the dissent for the liberal wing of the court.

“But why would Congress want to deny a bond hearing to individuals who reasonably fear persecution or torture, and who, as a result, face proceedings that may last for many months or years…? I can find no satisfactory answer to this question,” he said.

This comes a day after the Supreme Court refused to hear a case about a transgender male student using the male bathrooms in his school.

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a major transgender rights case.

The justices opted not to hear the Gloucester County School Board’s appeal of a 2020 ruling by the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that transgender student Gavin Grimm is protected under the federal law that bars sex discrimination in education.

The 4th Circuit ruling does not set a national legal precedent.

Grim is a “transgender male” — was born a biological female but identified as male, legally changed his name, and began hormone therapy.

The principal at first gave him permission to use the boys’ bathroom, but the school board later adopted a policy saying restrooms were “limited to the corresponding biological genders.”

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“For school officials, as for parents, the question how best to respond to a teenager who identifies with the opposite biological sex is often excruciatingly difficult,” lawyers for the school district told the Supreme Court. But the privacy rights of millions of students are at risk if their transgender classmates are allowed to use bathrooms matching their gender identities, they said.

Lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, representing Grimm, told the court that treating him differently by requiring him to use separate single-stall bathrooms singled him out “and stigmatized him as unfit to use the same restroom as his peers.”

Last week, prior to the ruling on Monday, the National Review’s Ed Whelan summarized why this could be catastrophic:

Title IX explicitly allows schools to “maintain separate living facilities” for males and females, and the Department of Education’s implementing regulation has long allowed schools to “provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex.” Gloucester County’s policy of assigning multi-user restrooms on the basis of sex clearly complies with this regulation.

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