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Will the U.S. Supreme Court make immigration law ruling soon?

Last year, the nation's highest court failed to make a determination that could immediately affect tens of thousands people across the country (including some here in New Orleans). With the addition of a new justice to the United States Supreme Court, that decision could be forthcoming. The decision centers on the immigration law that allows the federal government to indefinitely detain immigrants without a hearing.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the class action lawsuit on behalf of approximately 34,000 individuals currently being held in detention centers. They remain there regardless of whether they seek asylum or committed a crime. The question is whether they should receive a hearing before or at the expiration of six months in detainment instead of languishing there indefinitely.

The court must determine whether hearings should be held no later than every six months for those who remain detained. At each hearing, the government would have to provide compelling reasons to keep an individual in a detention center for another six months. The failure to do so would then mean release of the individual until his or her case is resolved. Estimates are that 90 percent of the deportation claims are resolved within that six-month period, but the other 10 percent could be there for years.

The decision in this case (expected to be handed down in June), which came from a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in California, could affect immigrants detained all over the country, including many here in the New Orleans area. In addition, it could affect any immigrants detained in the future. Immigration law attorneys across the country will more than likely be awaiting the outcome of this case to determine how it will affect both current and future clients.

Source: CBS News, "Supreme Court weighs case on detention of immigrants", Oct. 3, 2017

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