The Excalibur

Immigrant Detainment Act

Image+illustrated+by+Michael+Korfhage.
Image illustrated by Michael Korfhage.

Image illustrated by Michael Korfhage.

Image illustrated by Michael Korfhage.

Calysta Goodwin and Tyler Kieft

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On October 28th, 2015, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held a panel in which it was decided that immigrants facing deportation would be given the right to periodic bond hearings in an effort to gain release.

However, on February 27th, 2018, the Supreme Court made an impactful ruling that decided that immigrants could be permanently held without the bond hearings previously guaranteed. What this means for migrants is that if the US government is holding them for any suspicion regarding their legality, they could effectively be held indefinitely. As this ruling applies to legal and illegal immigrants alike, and even those seeking asylum or protection, any non-native US citizen faced with any charges whatsoever, including minor misdemeanors, could face deportation without the chance to plead their release on bail at all.

This ruling, passing with a 5-3 vote in favor of conservatives, does not prevent those influenced by it from being freed. However, as the criminal system is so large, and the numbers of immigrants being held for possible deportation are continuously increasing, the majority of those wrongly held must wait an excruciatingly and unjust amount of time before being heard, and many are simply lost in the system, therefore condemned to remain in holding for a much longer time.

Along with the change in the system comes a variety of different responses from those of all affiliated parties in favor and in disagreement on the issues. As the Justice Stephen G. Breyer stated after the court ruling, “We need only recall the words of the Declaration of Independence, in particular its insistence that all men and women have ‘certain unalienable Rights,’ and that among them is the right to ‘Liberty.’” Justice Breyer was fairly adamant on his utter contempt for this decision, and even believes it to be completely irrational and unconstitutional.

When asking Richard Everett, an AP U.S. History teacher, if such a ruling was unconstitutional, he stated “I would say no. I mean, I’m not in support of the decision, because I’ve often made that argument we’re all immigrants at some point in time in this country, unless you’re a full-blooded Native American. But the Constitution only protects citizens of the United States’ rights, and technically illegal immigrants are not American citizens.”

Another East Ridge Knight interviewed, Najee Rodriguez, stated “I think it is unconstitutional. I think it’s a blatant violation of their rights because it’s just contradictory how years ago people were coming to our country to seek asylum for religious persecution and other means. They’re doing the same thing in terms of political asylum or fleeing bad conditions or impoverishment. They’re just seeking a better life.” Rodriguez also connected the actions taken by the Supreme Court to the discriminatory policies of the late 19th century, specifically the Chinese Exclusion Act that prevented Chinese citizens from migrating to America.

Whether the policy is unconstitutional or not is up to debate, but the fact remains that the new appeal strengthens great controversies that will only continue to cause problems in the pursuit for greater equality among all people in American society, foreign or not.

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Immigrant Detainment Act