This past week in Jennings v. Rodriguez, the Supreme Court of the United States waded into an immigration thicket from which there is no easy escape. It is commonplace that many aliens in the United States are subject to deportation for a variety of reasons. Some of these aliens must be detained in the US because they are stateless or because the US does not have a repatriation treaty with their home country. Other persons are detained because they are subject to a criminal record.
In many cases the detentions are extended as aliens play for time in order to obtain evidence to bolster their case for remaining in the US. In a large percentage of cases, the detentions can easily be justified on the grounds that the aliens in question are a flight risk or pose a risk for public safety. In individual cases, it is often hard to know which individuals fall into which categories, so that it is sometimes incumbent to hold individuals in custody for long periods of time until the needed factual records can be assembled.More