Congresswoman 'deeply concerned' about Caribbean immigrants facing deportation

Friday, March 22, 2019

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NEW YORK, USA (CMC) – Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke has expressed deep concern over a ruling in the US Supreme Court that Caribbean and other immigrants facing deportation can be detained even after they have completed their prison terms.

“Stripping immigrants of their right to due process is immoral and unconstitutional, and stands as a direct threat to the 3.07 million foreign-born immigrants who reside in New York City,” Clarke, the daughter of Caribbean immigrants, told the Caribbean Media Corporation late Wednesday.

“I am deeply concerned by the grave consequences this ruling will impose upon immigrant families, such as the fear of their indefinite detention and the fear of reporting crimes that make us all unsafe,” added Clarke, representative for the Ninth Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York, which boasts a huge concentration of Caribbean immigrants in the United States.

Clarke stated that the US Supreme Court's narrow, 5-4, decision on Tuesday now gives the US government the authority to detain Caribbean and other immigrants, even after release from criminal custody.

In its 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court, in the case, Preap v Nielsen, ruled along ideological lines.

The court's conservative majority overruled a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision that tried to limit which immigrants would be subject to mandatory detention without bond.

The 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act mandates the retroactive detention of immigrants with certain criminal histories, even for minor crimes.

In what is widely seen as a victory for the Trump Administration and its hardcore immigration policies, Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the US Supreme Court's conservative majority, said that immigration law requires the detention of “deplorable criminal aliens”, even after years later.

He wrote that it is “especially hard to swallow” the idea that “the alien (immigrant) must be arrested on the day he walks out of jail.

“As we have held time and again, an official's duties are better carried out late than never,” said Alito.

He, however, said the law may be subject to constitutional challenges in individual cases – an issue that was not before the justices in the highest court in the land.

Cecillia Wang, an attorney for American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the immigrants challenging the law, also expressed deep concern about the court's ruling and seemingly worrying pattern.

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