Media Contact

Inga Sarda-Sorensen, 212-284-7347,

September 26, 2017


The Supreme Court will hear an American Civil Liberties Union case that could decide the fate of thousands of people languishing in immigration prisons. At issue is the federal government's practice of locking up immigrants for years without a hearing to determine if imprisonment is warranted. The Department of Homeland Security claims it can hold people indefinitely as they defend their right to remain in the United States. This includes lawful permanent residents, asylum seekers, survivors of torture, and others with strong claims to remain. Many of them will ultimately win their deportation cases, but the government forces them to suffer prolonged detention during the court process.

The ACLU challenged the government and won in the lower courts, including in a 2015 federal appeals court decision from the Ninth Circuit that required hearings for immigrants once their detention exceeds six months. The government sought review of that decision in the Supreme Court, which first heard the case in 2016. Last summer, the court ordered that it be reheard this fall.

ACLU attorney Ahilan Arulanantham says: "This case is about a bedrock due process requirement: the right to a hearing before a judge when the government tries to imprison someone. Every lower court to consider the government's draconian detention regime rejected it. The rights at stake in this case are as critical as ever given the Trump administration's pledge to lock up even more people as part of its crackdown on immigrant communities. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will protect due process by affirming the lower court's ruling."

***ACLU attorneys are available for interview in advance, and will offer remarks in front of the Supreme Court immediately after the arguments***

ACLU attorney Ahilan Arulanantham will argue the case before the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, October 3, 11 a.m.

U.S. Supreme Court
1 First St NE
Washington, D.C.

More information about this case is at:

More here: "The Right to Due Process in Detention: Jennings v. Rodriguez"