Thursday, September 8, 2016

Should We Believe the U.S. Government's Immigration Data in Jennings v. Rodriguez?

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Jess Bravin reports for the Wall Street Journal that, in a case currently pending the U.S. Supreme Court, Jennings v. Rodriguez, the Solicitor General is seeking to bolster its chances in a Supreme Court immigration case by introducing new information at the final stage of litigation.  This is the case even though the U.S. government was recently forced to apologize for erroneous information provided in this way.

Jennings v. Rodriguez, one of two major immigration cases before the Supreme Court, concerns the government’s power to detain noncitizens without the opportunity to bond out while their immigration cases are pending. The Obama administration is asking the justices to overturn a Ninth Circuit decision holding that the due-process guarantee entitles immigrants to be able to seek bond after six months of detention.

In a brief filed last month, the Solicitor General claims that “in fiscal year 2015, 11,325 of the 27,443 initial case completions by immigration judges for released aliens—41% of the total—were in absentia orders after the alien absconded.” That absentee rate is a “serious problem” justifying a blanket no-bail policy, the government argues. The statistics come from the Executive Office for Immigration Review. That office also supplied data that recently was proved erroneous in a 2003 case in which the Supreme Court upheld the detention of immigrants convicted of certain crimes pending removcal, Demore v. Kim. Earlier this month, following a report in The Wall Street Journal documenting the errors, acting Solicitor General Ian Gershengorn sent a letter of apology to the Supreme Court.


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