Statement on Supreme Court’s June 2022 Immigration Decisions

As reproductive justice advocates across the country await the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, expected any day now, SCOTUS’ emboldened conservative supermajority has already begun overturning longstanding court precedent in an effort to reshape American law to reflect their far-right ideological values. 

Though unsurprising based on the Court’s new make-up, Advocates for Youth is deeply disappointed in the decision in Egbert v. Boule, released on June 8th. SCOTUS has chosen to grant immunity to border patrol agents who violate the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens in residences 100 miles from the border, by barring a civil rights lawsuit against an officer who entered the property of a U.S. citizen without a warrant and assaulted him. According to the ACLU, this 100-mile radius extends around the Mexico and Canada borders, as well as the coastal borders — an area where nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population, or 200 million people, reside.

The Court further ruled that federal courts cannot provide any future remedies against federal agents who abuse their authority because Congress is allegedly better equipped to do so. 

This case sets dangerous precedent, as it can be applied to other federal entities including the FBI, DEA, and ICE. It will also undoubtedly have an impact on migrant youth who are often harassed and detained, and BIPOC who continue to be targeted and criminalized by law enforcement. 

On June 13th, SCOTUS additionally issued disheartening decisions in two companion cases in which the government argued that immigrants cannot seek injunctions to stop illegal detention or challenge deportation practices as class actions. The Court unfortunately agreed. 

In Johnson v. Arteaga-Martinez, SCOTUS overturned precedent requiring a bond hearing if a person in ongoing immigration proceedings is detained longer than six months, claiming the U.S. government is not obligated to provide one.

In Garland v. Aleman Gonzalez, SCOTUS also ruled that in challenging detention, immigrants cannot seek classwide injunctive relief. 

The impact of these unjust decisions is far-reaching. Immigrants in ICE detention centers, including adolescents and children, are not provided with adequate reproductive healthcare and frequently experience physical abuse, neglect, and even death. Denying bond hearings allows for indefinite detention and prolongs exposure to immeasurable harm. 

And, as Justice Sotomayor stated in her dissent, “denying class actions will further deprive vulnerable non-citizens [without the means to file individual cases] of any meaningful opportunity to protect their rights.” This is unacceptable. Advocates for Youth believes that undocumented young people and families deserve better and we will not stop working alongside our youth activists to advocate for justice for detainees.