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The Supreme Court said on Tuesday that the government can indefinitely detain certain immigrants who fear persecution in their home countries if they were deported and then illegally reentered the United States. The court — split 6-3 along ideological lines — ruled that immigrants who illegally reentered the US after being deported have no right to a court hearing on whether they should be released while their claims are being considered by the government. The case involves people who had been previously deported and, when detained after re-entering the United States illegally, claimed that they would be persecuted or tortured if sent back. One man is a citizen of El Salvador who said he was immediately threatened by a gang after being deported from the US. An immigration officer determined that the immigrants had a “reasonable fear” for their safety if returned to their countries, setting in motion an evaluation process that can take months or years. The issue for the court was whether the government could hold the immigrants without having an immigration judge weigh in.

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