The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, March 19, endorsed U.S. government authority to detain immigrants awaiting deportation anytime, even years after they have completed prison terms for criminal convictions.
Reuters reports that the court ruled 5 to 4 that federal authorities could pick up such immigrants and place them into indefinite detention at any time, not just immediately after they finish their prison sentences.
The ruling, authored by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, left open the possibility of individual immigrants challenging the federal law involved in the case on constitutional grounds if they are detained long after they have completed their sentences.
In dissent, liberal Justice Stephen Breyer questioned whether the U.S. Congress when it wrote the law “meant to allow the government to apprehend people’s years after their release from prison and hold them indefinitely without a bail hearing.”
The Trump administration had appealed a lower court ruling in the case that favoured immigrants, a decision it said would undermine the government’s ability to deport immigrants who have committed crimes.
Trump has backed limits on legal and illegal immigrants since taking office in January 2017.