Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292 (1993)

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certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the ninth circuit

No. 91-905. Argued October 13, 1992—Decided March 23, 1993

Respondents are a class of alien juveniles arrested by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) on suspicion of being deportable, and then detained pending deportation hearings pursuant to a regulation, promulgated in 1988 and codified at 8 CFR 242.24, which provides for the release of detained minors only to their parents, close relatives, or legal guardians, except in unusual and compelling circumstances. An immigration judge will review the initial deportability and custody determinations upon request by the juvenile. 242.2(d). Pursuant to a consent decree entered earlier in the litigation, juveniles who are not released must be placed in juvenile care facilities that meet or exceed state licensing requirements for the provision of services to dependent children. Respondents contend that they have a right under the Constitution and immigration laws to be routinely released into the custody of other "responsible adults." The District Court invalidated the regulatory scheme on unspecified due process grounds, ordering that "responsible adult part[ies]" be added to the list of persons to whom a juvenile must be released and requiring that a hearing before an immigration judge be held automatically, whether or not the juvenile requests it. The Court of Appeals, en banc, affirmed.

Held: 1. Because this is a facial challenge to the regulation, respondents must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which the regulation would be valid. United States v. Salerno, 481 U. S. 739, 745. Pp. 300-301. 2. Regulation 242.24, on its face, does not violate the Due Process Clause. Pp. 301-309. (a) The regulation does not deprive respondents of "substantive due process." The substantive right asserted by respondents is properly described as the right of a child who has no available parent, close relative, or legal guardian, and for whom the government is responsible, to be placed in the custody of a private custodian rather than of a government-operated or government-selected child-care institution. That novel claim cannot be considered " 'so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental.' " United

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