Statement on Supreme Court Immigration Ruling


March 19, 2019


Statement on Supreme Court Immigration Ruling

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court today issued a decision on Nielsen v. Preap, a case focused on bond hearings for immigrants who are not immediately transferred from criminal to immigration custody.

Mony Preap was born in a refugee camp after his parents fled the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. He and his parents came to the U.S. in 1981, and he has been a lawful permanent resident since, residing in California for the duration of his time in the U.S. In 2013, he was taken into immigration custody and held without bond because of two criminal convictions that took place in 2004, both for possession of a small amount of marijuana.

Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus attorneys filed a class-action lawsuit arguing that Mony and others like him were entitled to bond hearings. The district court agreed and ordered the government to provide bond hearings for the class in May 2014. In 2016, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court decision. In 2018, the case was taken to the Supreme Court and argued by the ACLU.

The following statements are from:

Aarti Kohli, Executive Director of Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus:

“This ruling blatantly ignores the language of the 1996 mandatory detention law and grossly expands the government’s ability to detain without due process. This decision in favor of the government’s sweeping interpretation of the law goes far beyond Congress’ original intent and marks a serious threat to civil liberties in this country. As a result, thousands of immigrants will be subject to mandatory imprisonment without the fundamental due process protections that form the backbone of our nation’s ideals and justice system.”

ACLU Deputy Legal Director Cecillia Wang:

“For two terms in a row now, the Supreme Court has endorsed the most extreme interpretation of immigration detention statutes, allowing mass incarceration of people without any hearing, simply because they are defending themselves against a deportation charge. We will continue to fight the gross overuse of detention in the immigration system.”

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