[POSTED BY WLS]
Why yes, Virginia, they do. 8 USC Sec. 1226(a).
Sorry to burst the bubble of those of you who had a hard time believing that an alient without the right to remain in the US actually is allowed to remain in the US until such time as an Immigration Judge decides they are not allowed to remain in the US, and then for some added time after that.
What you should understand, however, is that Immigration Courts are operated by the Executive Branch, not the Judicial Branch. Immigration Judges are appointed by the Dept. of Justice, and ICE staffs the “prosecutors” offices of the Immigration Courts. The Immigration Judge is actually exercising the discretion conferred upon the Attorney General by Congress with respect to detaining aliens pending deportation hearings, or to release them on bail.
The issue before Immigration Courts is simply whether the person before the court has a right to remain in the US. That is NOT a criminal charge, and they are not held as suspected “criminals” pending trial.
Here’s an article that is a little outdated, but sets for some interesting numbers from around 2000 time frame on this question.