The U.S. Supreme Court won't take up President Trump's temporary travel ban--at least not yet. But another case already before the high court could have a major impact on the President's immigration policy, including his plan for "extreme vetting" of immigrants and refugees from regions of the country associated with terrorism and failed governments.
The justices are set to rule this spring on whether illegal immigrants who have been detained for more than six months have a right to request a hearing for their release. "The ACLU is suing, saying this long-term detention is costing the public a lot of money, as well as delaying justice for these individuals," says Houston immigration attorney Gordon Quan. "If the court requires more prompt action to process these people, then we're going to have to hire a lot more people, have more detention facilities, and have more judges."
The reason so many detainees are held for months on end is the massive backlog of cases currently in the immigration courts, reported to be more than 500,000. Quan tells KTRH that President Trump's plans could make that number grow. "If Trump, in fact, starts deporting people, people will be put in custody and request a hearing, so the situation we have now will be exacerbated," he says.
The Supreme Court's ruling on the rights of detainees could also have a direct impact on the President's policy of detaining immigrants and refugees for extreme vetting as they enter the U.S. "To arrest groups of people based on their ethnicity, we can understand some of that," says Quan. "But as far as providing clear guidelines on how they are to be treated, that I think, this case will begin to address."
The Supreme Court is set to rule on the case by June.