The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday in a case that will decide if noncitizens have the same due process right to a bond hearing as citizens.
Mandatory detention laws require some undocumented immigrants to remain in custody while they face deportation.
But the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Arizona, ruled in 2015 that the government has to give immigrants a bond hearing if they’re detained for six months.
Immigration cases take years, and having a bond hearing doesn’t mean a person will automatically be released, said Laura St. John, legal director at the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project.
“But it gives them the opportunity to go in front of a judge, who will make an individualized assessment about whether or not that person is a danger or a flight risk,” she said.
The Supreme Court heard the case last year, but it did not issue a decision.
There were only eight justices for most of 2016. Neil Gorsuch took the ninth spot when he joined the bench in April.