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Court Rules Against Immigrants Who Fear For Safety In Home Countries


The U.S. Supreme Court in Johnson v. Guzman Chavez decides 6-3 against immigrants who say they face persecution or torture in their home countries if they are deported. Under consideration were the rights of a small subset of immigrants: those who were deported once before but reentered the United States illegally because they say they faced threats at home. At issue was a complex federal law that authorizes the government to detain immigrants and which section of it applies to these types of cases. One part of the law says that “the alien may receive a bond hearing before an immigration judge” and thus the chance to be free while proceedings continue. In the other, the immigrant is considered “removed,” and indefinite detention is warranted. Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, said it was the second that applied, and the detainees do not get a bond hearing. Alito wrote: “Aliens who reentered the country illegally after removal have demonstrated a willingness to violate the terms of a removal order, and they therefore may be less likely to comply with the reinstated order” that they leave, he said.