Published on: Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Today, in Nielsen v. Preap, Case No. 16-1363, the Supreme Court addressed the language of 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c)(1), which provides that federal authorities shall take into custody any alien convicted of certain crimes, including many minor offenses, “when the alien is released” from custody. Specifically, the Court addressed the meaning of the phrase “when the alien is released.” In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that the law required the detention of immigrants facing deportation without the possibility of bail if they had committed certain crimes, regardless of how long they had been released from criminal custody. Writing for the majority, Justice Alito stated: “An official’s crucial duties are better carried out late than never.”

Merits briefing is available on the Supreme Court’s website, here.