The theft of the Supreme Court Justice seat by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party from President Obama was one of the most shameless acts of political manipulation our nation has ever seen – and we are now forced to reckon with the appalling consequences.
Neil Gorsuch just handed the Trump administration its first major legal victory not related to the constant back-and-forth over his discriminatory anti-Muslim “travel ban,” ruling with the four other conservatives on our nation’s highest court that the government can hold immigrants in detention indefinitely – with no chance of bail or bond hearings.
The ruling is a huge win for the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant agenda of soft ethnic cleansing and for his private prison donors, who funnel millions of our taxpayer dollars into their insatiable pockets by running the enormous concentration camps where innocent immigrants are incarcerated, forced to work for nothing, and sometimes are even tortured by their guards.
The ruling overturns a prior ruling from the 9th Circuit Court, which had decided that the immigrants needed a hearing at least every six months “as long as they aren’t considered a flight risk or a danger to national security.”
“Immigration officials are authorized to detain certain aliens in the course of immigration proceedings while they determine whether those aliens may be lawfully present in the country” wrote Justice Samuel Alito in his majority opinion.
The inhumanity of the conservative justices’ decision was so infuriating that it drove Justice Breyer to read from the dissent, which is a rare occurrence on the Supreme Court.
Breyer slammed the ruling as a “legal fiction” and invoked our nation’s most sacred document in order to drive home the shameful hypocrisy of celebrating our nation as a melting pot and a land of opportunity for immigrants seeking a better life – and to then throw them in cells to be abused and exploited.
“We need only recall the words of the Declaration of Independence, in particular its insistence that all men and women have ‘certain unalienable Rights,’ and that among them is the right to ‘Liberty.’
Whatever the fiction, would the Constitution leave the Government free to starve, beat, or lash those held within our boundaries? If not, then, whatever the fiction, how can the Constitution authorize the Government to imprison arbitrarily those who, whatever we might pretend, are in reality right here in the United States?
No one can claim, nor since the time of slavery has anyone to my knowledge successfully claimed, that persons held within the United States are totally without constitutional protection.”
Without the six-month hearing, the private prison corporations which our government pays to jail tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants have absolutely no incentive to work towards their release, seeing as they rely on them for both funding and for slave labor.
The plaintiff in this case – a legal permanent resident, Alejandro Rodriguez – has been held in detention for three years without trial or charge. His crimes? Joyriding, and possession of a controlled substance which in all likelihood is legal in many states now.
America is a nation of white supremacy, and nothing makes that more clear than our nation’s highest court ruling that undocumented immigrants – who are almost universally people of color – have no rights simply because they were born on the wrong side of an arbitrary geographic divider.
The dehumanization of immigrants begins with the President smearing immigrants as criminals and “animals,” and is enforced with them being torn from their homes and from their families by jack-booted thugs in the night, locked in concentration camps and held indefinitely without charge before being thrown in chains into the belly of a modern slave ship.
It is a regime of white supremacy that even liberals are all too willing to go along with. Just as we looked the other way as President Obama murdered thousands of innocents with his drone wars abroad, so too did we look the other way as the first immigrant concentration camps were erected and as he deported more people than any other president before. It was his administration that began the appeal against the 9th Circuit court that the Trump administration eagerly pursued upon taking office.
While this legal battle isn’t over, as the case has been remanded back to the 9th Circuit Court, this is a terrifying step down an all-too-familiar road – with horrifying consequences.