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Home / Press Release / Supreme Court Sends Indefinite Detention of Immigrants, Asylum Seekers back to Ninth Circuit
February 27, 2018

Supreme Court Sends Indefinite Detention of Immigrants, Asylum Seekers back to Ninth Circuit

Washington, D.C.—Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Jennings v. Rodriguez, in which the Court sent the case back to the Ninth Circuit to evaluate the constitutionality of indefinitely detaining immigrants and asylum seekers, Human Rights First’s Eleanor Acer issued the following statement: 

"The Court’s decision in Jennings v. Rodriguez leaves in place, at least for now, policies that are an affront to our nation’s commitment to liberty and to U.S. human rights treaty obligations that prohibit arbitrary detention,” said Human Rights First’s Acer. “How can we as a nation, remain a haven for the persecuted when we lock up asylum seekers—who are in this country legally to escape violence—for prolonged periods of time without access to an immigration court custody hearing? These are individuals who fled traumatizing circumstances many of us cannot imagine, and yet this country sends them to jails and correctional facilities and blocks their access to hearings to contest their continued detention. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will, until these issues are resolved, be left to act as both jailer and judge, an astonishing and horrifying power. As the case goes back down to the appellate court, we expect them to acknowledge indefinite detention without a custody hearing before a judge violates the Due Process Clause of the Constitution.”   

Today's ruling is particularly troublesome given the policies of the Trump Administration.  On January 25, President Trump signed an executive order directing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to construct and operate immigration detention facilities and hold immigrants there for the duration of their immigration court proceedings. A 2017 Human Rights First report found that that in the eight months since President Trump signed his January 25 executive order calling for increased immigration detention, asylum seekers are largely refused parole, leaving many locked up in immigration detention facilities and jails for months or longer. 

Today Human Rights First issued a new report outlining the lack of adequate health care and lack of access to parole for asylum seekers held in detention facilities in New Jersey.  

For more information or to speak with Acer, contact Corinne Duffy at DuffyC@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3319.