Ninth Circuit in Supreme Court Crosshairs

Press Releases

June 11, 2018

IRLI takes on judgment empowering sanctuary cities

WASHINGTON—Last week the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the Trump administration in the U.S. Supreme Court in the administration’s appeal of a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling favoring criminal aliens and sanctuary cities. The ruling would allow criminal aliens to petition for their release if federal authorities had not assumed custody of them quickly enough.

At issue is a federal law mandating that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) assume custody of criminal aliens after they are released from state jail-time for their crimes, and hold them without bond pending deportation hearings. The law was passed to protect the American people from criminal aliens, who had very high rates of committing more crimes when released from state custody.

The Ninth Circuit interpreted language in the law as requiring the prompt or immediate detention by ICE after a criminal alien’s release from state custody. In its brief, IRLI points out that this language really just means that ICE does not have to take custody until an alien is released from state custody – it does not force ICE to assume custody quickly in cases where lack of cooperation by sanctuary jurisdictions would make immediate apprehension difficult. Otherwise, IRLI argues, the law would increase the unconstitutional interference with immigration enforcement that sanctuary policies already cause – hardly a result Congress intended.

“What the Ninth Circuit did was breathtaking,” commented Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “It gave alien criminals extra rights – the right to a bond hearing, and possibly release back onto the streets – if they can only evade ICE long enough after their release from state jail. Since evasion is much easier in sanctuary jurisdictions,” Wilcox added, “the Ninth Circuit allowed those jurisdictions to endanger their own citizens even more than they do already. We hope the Supreme Court agrees with numerous other circuits that have ruled the other way, and arrives at a commonsense reading of the statute that also protects Americans.”

The case is Nielsen v. Preap, No. 16-1363 (U.S. Supreme Court).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • [email protected]

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