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Supreme Court on 'When...Released' - Nielsen v. Preap (5-4)

March 19, 2019 (1 min read)

Nielsen v. Preap (5-4)

Justice Alito for the majority: "[T]he United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that this mandatory-detention requirement [8 U. S. C. §1226(c)] applies only if a covered alien is arrested by immigration officials as soon as he is released from jail. If the alien evades arrest for some short period of time— according to respondents, even 24 hours is too long—the mandatory-detention requirement is inapplicable, and the alien must have an opportunity to apply for release on bond or parole. Four other Circuits have rejected this interpretation of the statute, and we agree that the Ninth Circuit’s interpretation is wrong. We therefore reverse the judgments below and remand for further proceedings."

Justice Breyer for the dissent: "In my view, the Court should interpret the words of this statute to reflect Congress’ likely intent, an intent that is consistent with our basic values. To speak more technically, I believe that aliens are subject to paragraph (2)’s bar on release only if they are detained “when . . . released” from criminal custody. To speak less technically, I fear that the Court’s contrary interpretation will work serious harm to the principles for which American law has long stood."