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Supreme Court: Immigration law does not include bond hearings

The threat to the freedoms of those here in New Orleans and across the country who are not U.S. citizens seems to increase almost on a daily basis. Hundreds of people find themselves in detention centers as they await the government's decision as to whether they can remain in the country. Some of them spend a significant amount of time in those detention centers without the benefit of a hearing, which some believe to be a violation of their rights under immigration law.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which is based on the West Coast, agrees. The court ruled in a class action suit filed on behalf of detained immigrants that they should go before a court at least every six months to determine whether they should be released on a bond. Some felt this was a victory.

However, that victory was short-lived. When the case reached the United States Supreme Court, the lower court's ruling was overturned. The nation's highest court ruled that nothing in current immigration law provides for bond hearings.

Despite that ruling, the court ordered the lower court to consider whether the relevant parts of immigration law are unconstitutional. In addition, the lower court must determine whether certification of the case as a class action suit was appropriate. Depending on what happens, the case could end up once against before the U.S. Supreme Court for different reasons, which could result in a different outcome.

While the courts, the administration and Congress continue to debate current immigration law and determine how to change it, lives remain in the balance. For those living in New Orleans under these circumstances, there may be options for remaining in the country legally. It may be a good idea to discuss the situation with an immigration law attorney sooner rather than later since no one knows what the future holds.

Source:, "High court nixes periodic hearings for detained immigrants", Jessica Gresko, Feb. 27, 2018

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