The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that immigrants detained in the United States are not entitled to a bond hearing, a decision that means that the thousands of people with open immigration cases who are currently in federal holding facilities can continue to be detained indefinitely.
The high court also ruled that federal courts lack the authority to grant class-wide relief to detainees. In other words, if any detainees want to argue in the future that they have a right to a bond hearing, they will need to bring their cases individually, despite the fact that immigrants are not entitled to counsel during immigration proceedings.
The Court’s ruling maintains the status quo. For-profit corporations, like Geo Group and others, currently detain thousands of immigrants in prison-like centers. Such immigrants are not charged with a crime, nor do they have a right to a hearing justifying their detention. The Court also maintains the U.S. government’s broad discretion over immigrant detention, ruling that immigrants can only have a bond hearing if the government says so.
The ruling is not a surprise, says Muzaffar Chishti, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a nonpartisan research organization. But, he adds, “it’s a pretty strong statement” from the highest court in the land. “It does not raise any more hopes for people who have been held in prolonged detention, that there may be a reprieve for them,” he says.