The Trump administration doesn’t win much in lower federal courts when it comes to the president’s efforts to enforce all immigration laws. But thanks to the opportunities he has had to fill two vacancies on the nation’s highest court, his administration — and the American people, including those who don’t like or support him — are getting some assistance in that area.
On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the administration has the authority to detain and deport illegal aliens who have served their time in prison and have been released. The ruling reverses lower court decisions in — where else? — the 9th Circuit claiming that the government had to detain them right away or they are exempt.
Specifically, as Fox News’ White House correspondent Kevin Corke noted in a tweet, the majority restricted “when deportable aliens can secure bond or parole to contest removal proceedings, especially those who may be a risk to commit certain ‘dangerous’ crimes if released.”
#NEW #SCOTUS A 5-4 ruling for the #Trump administration on #immigration. Justice #Alito joins majority restricting when deportable aliens can secure bond or parole to contest removal proceedings, especially those who may be a risk to commit certain “dangerous” crimes if released.
— Kevin Corke (@kevincorke) March 19, 2019
Justice Samuel Alito delivered the majority opinion for the court, and he was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh. Justices Steven Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan dissented.
Alito wrote that in the past, the court has “held time and time again, an official’s crucial duties are better carried out late than never.”
Alito and the majority also dismissed the argument from lawyers on behalf of immigrants involved in the case that they are only subject to mandatory detention if they are arrested “on the day he walks out of jail.” The example given was when state and local officials “sometimes rebuff the government’s request they give notice when a criminal alien will be released.”
In other words, when state or local officials are observing a “sanctuary” policy of ignoring detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which sounds like just another Leftist attempt to keep illegal aliens from being sent back home. And for the record, ignoring ICE detainer requests happens all the time, not ‘sometimes’ — especially throughout the 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction which includes the “sanctuary state” of California.
The case involved Mony Preap and Bassaum Yusuf Khoury, both of whom are in the U.S. lawfully as permanent residents. Both were convicted of crimes and went on to serve their sentences, but they were not picked up by immigration officials so they could be removed from the country until years after they were released.
At issue is a federal law stating that the Department of Homeland Security is able to detain immigrants convicted of specific crimes “when the alien is released” from jail. Lawyers for both Preap and Khoury argued they should be exempt from being detained due to the gap in time between their release and subsequent detainment for deportation proceedings.
Judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the argument in 2016, ruling that the word “when” in the law “conveys immediacy,” and that any immigration detainment following criminal custody must then occur directly after the immigrant is released.
But how is that possible when sanctuary city policies prevent local police from responding to detainer requests from federal immigration officials, which then turns the “immediacy” clause of the law on its head? Agents deprived of information as to when aliens are going to be released can’t very well show up to ‘immediately’ detain for deportation, can they? (Related: Confirmed: California is protecting over 5,000 illegal alien criminals by refusing to hand them over to federal authorities.)
The Trump administration argued before the high court that the government has the power to detain immigrants as they go through their deportation proceedings, even if they are picked up years after being released from serving time for a crime. Thankfully, a majority of justices agreed.
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