Cori Alonso-Yoder, a Practitioner-in-Residence in the Immigrant Justice Clinic at American University Washington College of Law, recently published a response to Nielsen v. Preap on the George Washington Law Review’s On the Docket scholarly forum. The holding in Preap, which the U.S. Supreme Court decided on March 19, 2019, permits DHS to take lawfully present noncitizens into “mandatory” immigration detention months or even years after they have completed their criminal sentencing and paid their debts to society. The decision is notable because the majority uses a very formal application of grammar rules to decide the meaning of the Immigration & Nationality Act, without addressing the constitutional implications of the resulting detention practice. Prof. Alonso-Yoder observes that Justice Breyer’s dissent more realistically frames the potentially unconstitutional result of the majority’s decision, given the already severely limited options for release from detention for most noncitizens.
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