Court backs Trump on de­tain­ing mi­grants

The Buffalo News - - WASHINGTON NEWS -

WASH­ING­TON – The Supreme Court on Tues­day up­held the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s power to ar­rest and hold le­gal im­mi­grants in­def­i­nitely if they had past crimes on their records that could trig­ger de­por­ta­tion, even if they served their time years ago or were con­victed of mi­nor drug of­fenses.

The jus­tices, by a 5-4 vote, agreed that Con­gress au­tho­rized manda­tory de­ten­tion of nonci­t­i­zens who were sub­ject to de­por­ta­tion be­cause they had com­mit­ted crimes rang­ing from vi­o­lent felonies to drug pos­ses­sion. And they may be taken into cus­tody by im­mi­gra­tion agents long af­ter they are re­leased from state or lo­cal cus­tody, the court said.

The rul­ing in Nielsen vs. Preap is based on an in­ter­pre­ta­tion of a 1996 law, but it takes on added sig­nif­i­cance be­cause the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has been more ag­gres­sive in ar­rest­ing and jail­ing le­gal im­mi­grants with crimes on their records.

Jus­tice Sa­muel A. Al­ito

Jr., speak­ing for the court’s con­ser­va­tives, said Con­gress be­lieved it would be “too risky” to al­low dan­ger­ous crim­i­nals and ter­ror­ists to re­main free on bail while their de­por­ta­tions were pend­ing. But he went on to de­scribe the law as re­quir­ing manda­tory de­ten­tion for nonci­t­i­zens who had com­mit­ted crimes “in­clud­ing, for ex­am­ple, any drug of­fense by an adult pun­ish­able by more than one year of im­pris­on­ment as well as a va­ri­ety of tax of­fenses.” He was joined by Chief Jus­tice John G. Roberts Jr. and Jus­tices Clarence Thomas,

Neil M. Gor­such and Brett M. Ka­vanaugh.

– Los An­ge­les Times

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