In many senses, indefinite detainment without a conviction or deportation seems unfair. It means a person is being held without a chance to plead his or her case, with no end in sight. In the case of immigrants, is this legal?
That's what the U.S. Supreme Court has been debating in October. The question is about those who have been held for over six months. Should they at least get a bond hearing so that they can ask to be released? This doesn't mean that those who are going to be deported won't still be deported, but they may not have to wait behind bars to find out.
A lower court already made a ruling, saying that being in prison for six months should automatically trigger such a hearing. The Supreme Court is trying to decide if that ruling should hold up.
Some reports indicate that most justices seem to think the idea holds weight. They're sympathetic, though they haven't ruled yet. One of the points they argue is that government delays are common. This means people are stuck in detainment for a long period of time due just to bureaucracy. Is it fair to hold them for that reason?
On the other side, some justices weren't sure if the time alone should be enough to grant the hearing. Are there other factors that should be considered?
As of right now, immigrants can still be held for long periods of time, as the highest court hasn't yet ruled. However, it will be very important to keep an eye on this case, as it could help define immigrants' rights and change the legal process in the future.
Source: Governing, "Can Immigrants Be Detained Indefinitely? It's a Question for the Supreme Court Now.," Oct. 04, 2017