Thursday, March 06, 2003

Can't Detain People Indefinitely

You'd think this would be a no-brainer, really. I mean, if you can't deport someone you shouldn't be able to lock them up forever either.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the Immigration and Naturalization Service cannot hold illegal immigrants with questionable pasts as it does now, indefinitely.

The ruling by the court in Cincinnati stems from a Lexington case: Mario Rosales Garcia, a Cuban with a criminal record who was detained at the Federal Medical Center on Leestown Road, had argued it was unconstitutional for the INS to hold him for deportation while knowing Cuba would never accept him back.

In essence, the decision grants everyone in the United States, even those who are illegal aliens and criminals such as Rosales, the same rights all U.S. citizens have guaranteeing due process: Foreigners cannot be imprisoned indefinitely while awaiting deportation unless they are serving time for a crime or have charges pending against them.