Nielsen v. Preap

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: March 19, 2019
  • Case #: 16-1363
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: ALITO, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, III–A, III–B–1, and IV, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and THOMAS, GORSUCH, and KAVANAUGH, JJ., joined, and an opinion with respect to Parts II and III–B–2, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and KAVANAUGH, J., joined. KAVANAUGH, J., filed a concurring opinion. THOMAS, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, in which GORSUCH, J., joined. BREYER, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined.
  • Full Text Opinion

The mandatory detention provision of 18 U.S.C. § 1226(c) applies to an alien released from criminal custody even where the Department of Homeland Security does not take the alien into custody immediately after their release.

Under 8 U.S.C. § 1226(a), alien detainees may secure release on bond or parole if they prove to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that they are not a threat to others or a flight risk. However, §1226(c) provides that aliens who have committed certain dangerous crimes are ineligible for bond. Respondents were detained under §1226(c) several years after their criminal custody ended and denied bond hearings due to their previous convictions. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed an injunction by the lower court, holding that in order for mandatory detention to apply, the alien must be taken into custody immediately after release from criminal custody. The Supreme Court reversed, reasoning that the language of §1226, taken as a whole, precluded any interpretation that §1226(c) requires the government to immediately take the alien into custody. The Court stated that aliens who have committed the offenses outlined in §1226(c)(1) are subject to mandatory detention based on their status as criminal offenders, regardless of when they are taken into custody for deportation purposes. The Court also noted that under Barnhart v. Peabody Coal Co., 537 U. S. 149 (2003), authority to act pursuant to a statute does not dissipate if not immediately instituted by government agents. REVERSED AND REMANDED.

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