The Supreme Court made a 5-4 ruling on Tuesday in the Preap v. Nielsen case that would allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents the power to arrest non-U.S. citizens, even if they are green card holders, based on past convictions without bond.
ICE agents will be able to arrest these immigrants even if they served their time and paid their court fines years ago, according to the decision made on March 19.
Those who are arrested could end up being detained for months or even years, according to state Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-East Elmhurst).
Candidates running in the Queens District Attorney race have weighed in on the decision.
Former Queens Supreme Court Judge Gregory Lasak: “No matter what your status, you should have basic human rights in our criminal justice system and people shouldn’t be denied bail on the sole basis of that status. The Supreme Court’s ruling is disappointing and we’ll do everything we can to protect our immigrant communities in Queens.”
Mina Malik, a deputy attorney general in Washington D.C. and the daughter of Hispanic and Asian immigrants: “The idea of detaining a person indefinitely without a hearing runs opposed to the most basic ideas of justice in this country. As an immigrant and daughter of immigrants, I’m gravely concerned that the United States Supreme Court would rule that access to due process of law does not apply equally to our immigrant neighbors.”
Betty Lugo a prosecutor: “This is contrary to the U.S. Constitution and would unfairly and unjustly affect in a disparate manner the detainees. The circumstances of each individual must be evaluated and applications for release on bail should be considered.”
City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest): “To not even consider a bond hearing can be devastating for people who have lived in the United States for years and have close ties to their communities, families, and jobs.
Borough President Melinda Katz called “indefinite detention” of immigrants wrong.
“This ruling is an injustice to thousands of immigrants who are now at risk of being locked up without bail by ICE,” said Katz. “We have countless examples of how punitive bail policies can destroy the lives of law-abiding residents. Cases like this underscore why we need a District Attorney in Queens who will use every available means to fight back against the policies coming out of Donald Trump’s Washington to push for change and prevent abuses that rob our immigrant friends and neighbors of their freedom.”
Public defender Tiffany Cabán and Joseph Nieves, the deputy chief of the Special Investigation and Prosecution of the state Attorney General’s office were not able to be reached for comment.