A Federal Appeals Court in Boston ruled that the mandatory detention provision in immigration law is being misapplied. Immigration Judges have been interpreting the mandatory detention law as applicable anytime a person “was released” from custody after October 8, 1998. This means that a person released from custody in 1999 and subsequently detained by immigration authorities in 2014, would be subject to being held without bond. Immigrant advocates have been arguing for years that this result is clearly not what Congress intended when they enacted the mandatory detention law. It was clearly enacted so that prisoners completing their sentences or time in custody would not be released if they were non-citizens, but would be transferred to immigration custody.
Finally, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that mandatory detention cannot apply to noncitizens who have been placed in deportation proceedings because of offenses for which they were released from custody years ago.
This ruling will affect thousands in the First Circuit and beyond should courts in other circuits find the ruling persuasive. The case can be found here.