SCOTUS Rules Against Previously Deported Illegal Aliens Seeking Bail
The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) on Tuesday held that previously deported illegal aliens, claiming to be in fear of persecution in their native country, are not entitled to bail for release into the U.S. during their deportation proceedings.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority in a 6-3 decision that the federal statute governing cases involving previously deported illegal aliens — who fear persecution in the country they are set to be deported — are not eligible for a bond hearing before a federal immigration judge.
In the case, two previously deported illegal aliens had their deportation orders reinstated after having been found to have, again, illegally entered the U.S. by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The illegal aliens were each referred to an asylum officer after they claimed to be fearful of persecution in the country where they were set to be deported. In each case, the officers determined that they had a reasonable fear of persecution, referring them to an immigration judge for what is known as “withholding-only proceedings.”
During the course of their deportation proceedings, the illegal aliens sought bail to be released into the U.S. but the federal government opposed their release arguing that the federal statute governing their cases does not entitle them to a bond hearing.
The illegal aliens filed suit in U.S. district court, demanding bond hearings. The district court ruled in favor of the illegal aliens. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision after the federal government appealed.
The SCOTUS ruling reverses the Fourth Circuit judgment:
The order of the sections in Part IV provides helpful context for interpreting the proper application of §1226 and §1231. Section 1226 applies before an alien proceeds through the removal proceedings and obtains a decision; §1231 applies after. Once an alien has been ordered removed from the United States in a removal proceeding under §1229a and that order has been reinstated under §1231(a)(5), “the alien cannot go back in time, so to speak, to §1226.” [Emphasis added]
Respondents’ contrary reading would undermine Congress’s judgment regarding the detention of different groups of aliens who posed different risks of flight: aliens detained under §1226 before having been ordered removed and those held under §1231 after already having been ordered removed. [Emphasis added]
Aliens who have not been ordered removed are less likely to abscond because they have a chance of being found admissible, but aliens who have already been ordered removed are generally inadmissible. The only apparent relief they can hope to obtain is a grant of withholding-only relief, and they would seem to still have a chance to get that relief if they absconded and were again apprehended. In addition, aliens who reentered the country illegally after removal have demonstrated a willingness to violate the terms of a removal order, and they therefore may be less likely to comply with the reinstated order. Congress had obvious reasons to treat these two groups differently. [Emphasis added]
Justice Thomas joined Alito but also wrote a concurring opinion, joined by Justice Gorsuch. Justice Breyer wrote the dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Sotomayor and Kagan.
The case is Johnson v. Guzman Chavez, No. 19–897 in the Supreme Court of the United States.