Supreme Court Rules Immigrants Can Be Indefinitely Detained

[Content Note: Nativism.]

I have spent the better part of a year warning that the Trump administration was signalling their intent to come after documented immigrants.

In January, they did the previously unthinkable: Revoked a naturalized citizen's citizenship, reverting him to a lawful permanent resident and potentially making him subject to deportation.

And earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest raised "grave concerns" that ICE was targeting immigrants for their "immigration advocacy — a practice she associated with America's worst enemies."

I have said before and will keep saying: This administration's (mis)treatment of undocumented immigrants is their canary in the coalmine. Their targeting is intolerable on its face, but understand that whatever they are doing to undocumented immigrants, they will target others in the same way eventually. We must resist their nativist strategies not only because they are cruel and indecent and unjust, but also because if we fail to resist them, they will proliferate.

That is the backdrop to a horrific decision made by the Supreme Court today, which ruled "that immigrants, even those with permanent legal status and asylum seekers, do not have the right to periodic bond hearings."
It's a profound loss for those immigrants appealing what are sometimes indefinite detentions by the government. Many are held for long periods of time — on average, 13 months — after being picked up for things as minor as joyriding. Some are held even longer.

The case has implications for legal permanent residents the government wants to deport, because they committed crimes, and asylum seekers who are awaiting a court date after turning themselves in at the border. Immigrant advocates contend that many of these immigrants have a right to be free on bail until their case is heard.

But the court wrote in its 5-3 opinion Tuesday, "Immigration officials are authorized to detain certain aliens in the course of immigration proceedings while they determine whether those aliens may be lawfully present in the country."

The majority opinion was penned by Justice Alito and joined by the court's conservatives.

...The lead plaintiff in the case is a legal permanent resident, Alejandro Rodriguez, who came to the U.S. as a child and worked as a dental assistant. As a teenager, he was convicted for joyriding, and at 24, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.

Rodriguez was detained for three years without the right to appear before a judge to ask for bond.
This is an absolute nightmare, particularly given the increasing criminalization of protest across the United States.

There are a few things to understand here:

1. This is part of the Trump administration's nativist and white supremacist agenda. The people who will primarily be targeted are non-white immigrants — especially because non-white immigrants are more likely to be protesting this administration. That said, I don't believe my husband's whiteness, for instance, will trump (cough) the administration's desire to leverage his immigration to silence me, if it comes to that.

2. The strategy is thus clearly multifaceted: To quell dissent and to "restructure American demography."

3. Further, the administration seeks to inure the general public to various erosions of civil rights by targeting undocumented immigrants. When the public tolerates that, they move on to documented immigrants. When the public tolerates that, they move on to naturalized citizens. Any citizen of this nation who believes it will stop there is a fool.

We must resist this with everything we've got, because we are witnessing the authoritarian plan for widespread social control being legalized whilst directed at immigrants.

If you can't get motivated enough to make noise in defense of immigrants, then get motivated because, if you don't, you'll be next.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus