Jun 11, 2018 Issues: Illegal Immigration

WASHINGTON, DC – Last week, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) called on the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse an appellate court decision that allowed illegal aliens released from criminal incarceration to avoid detention during their removal process. Jones joined with nine other Members of Congress on an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief drafted on a pro bono basis and filed by Washington Legal Foundation.

At issue in this case is a 1996 federal statute, 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c), that requires the detention of aliens convicted of serious crimes while they contest the government’s efforts to deport them. This law requires immigration authorities to detain a criminal alien “when the alien is released” from criminal incarceration and bars them from releasing the alien until removal proceedings are completed.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the “when … released” language indicates that mandatory detention is inapplicable when, for whatever reason, immigration authorities fail to take the alien into custody immediately after his release—for example, when an uncooperative State fails to inform them of an impending release.

The members’ brief argues that Congress reasonably concluded that unless criminal aliens are detained while they await removal, there exists too great a danger that they will abscond and/or commit new felonies.  The brief notes that one of the six criminal aliens released by order of the lower courts was later convicted of first-degree murder.  The members also argue that Congress never intended that the obligation to detain and hold criminal aliens should dissipate if immigration officials delay even slightly in taking them into custody.

“Our immigration policy in this country has gotten out of control,” said Congressman Jones. “In this brief, we ask the court to protect the American people first and foremost. Criminal aliens have no place in our streets.”

The full amicus brief is attached.

Jones has long supported strong borders and has been a leader in the fight against illegal immigration.

For additional information, please contact Allison Tucker in Congressman Walter Jones’ office at or (202) 225-3415.