Victory! Supreme Court Denies Aliens’ Bid for Right to Release into America

Press Releases

June 13, 2022

IRLI had shown Court that aliens who choose their detention have no such right

WASHINGTON—Today, the Supreme Court reversed a ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals allowing class-action lawsuits by detained aliens, in which the aliens demanded bond hearings for their release, to proceed. The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Supreme Court urging the Court to review this ruling, and, when review was granted, a second brief urging the Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit.

IRLI pointed out that the aliens bringing these suits can leave detention at any time—simply by voluntarily returning to their home countries. Thus, they have chosen their detention, and accordingly lack any due process right to liberty except any that Congress has provided by statute—and it has provided no such right here.

In addition, the Court today found that, under the terms of the relevant statute, courts have been stripped of jurisdiction to hear lawsuits brought by classes of aliens, rather than individual aliens. That, the Court held, was reason enough to reverse the Ninth Circuit and shut down these lawsuits.

“The detention of removable aliens, whether they are illegal aliens or criminal aliens, is fundamentally different from detention as a sentence for a crime,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “The United States is not holding them prisoner against their will. Rather, it is allowing them to remain in the United States while they challenge their deportation in the courts, and setting the conditions for their remaining here. If they don’t like those conditions, they can always leave detention and return to their native land. We are pleased that the Court reached the right result here, and squelched these lawsuits.”

The case is Garland v. Gonzalez, No. 20-322 (Supreme Court).

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