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Immigration Law

Ava Benach on Jennings v. Rodriguez Oral Argument (Law360)

Ava Benach, Oct. 10, 2017 - "Around the turn of the century, Hoang Minh Ly, a refugee and permanent resident of the United States, spent 564 days in detention by U.S. immigration authorities who sought his removal to his native Vietnam. He was released from detention only after a U.S. district court in September 2000 ordered that an immigration judge provide him with a bond hearing. That order was the result of an August 1999 petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by Ly. The ability of the government to detain immigrants for indefinite periods of times reached the U.S. Supreme Court again last week.

Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the second time in Jennings v. Rodriguez, a class action that challenges the constitutionality of the immigration detention edifice Congress created in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) in 1996. Alejandro Rodriguez is a permanent resident of the United States and was convicted of possession of a controlled substance and “joyriding.” When the government sought his removal, it detained him for the nearly three years that those proceedings lasted. Rodriguez was released only when the immigration judge granted relief from removal. He challenged, along with several other class representatives, his prolonged detention without review by a neutral arbiter. His case made its way to the Supreme Court for the second time last week.

During a spirited oral argument, the justices seemed to suggest that there are constitutional constraints on the government’s ability to detain immigrants. ... "