Summarized by: PA Prison Radio Report
Sept. 2nd 2011
Third Circuit rules prolonged detention of immigrants unconstitutional: A three-judge panel sitting for the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled Thursday that immigrants who are imprisoned while fighting deportation cannot be held indefinitely without a bail hearing, and that the government must justify the need for the prolonged detention.
The ruling came in an appeal of a district court decision brought by Senegalese native Cheikh Diop who was detained for two years and 11 months pursuant to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.
The court acknowledged that the statute does not provide for the possibility of release on bond and does not require the government to justify the detention, but ruled that because it is presumed that Congress does not intend to pass unconstitutional laws, "the statute implicitly authorizes detention for a reasonable amount of time, after which the authorities must make an individualized inquiry into whether detention is still necessary to fulfill the statute's purposes." The court also ruled that:
In this case, there can be no question that Diop's detention for nearly three years without further inquiry into whether it was necessary to ensure his appearance at the removal proceedings or to prevent a risk of danger to the community, was unreasonable and, therefore, a violation of the Due Process Clause.Diop was released in February after numerous court appearances.