Over the last few months I had the opportunity to work with some fantastic immigration attorneys across the Southeast United States on a collaborative project. Our goal was to find, review and summarize every immigration-related and useful District Court and Circuit Court Case from the Eleventh Circuit and put them together in a newsletter. This was an enjoyable and educational experience. We expect to send out this newsletter every quarter and it will contain published and unpublished District Court cases from Florida, Alabama and Georgia and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
This would not be possible without the hard work of our multi-state team composed of Marshall Cohen, Roberta Cooper, Bruce Buchanan and myself, John Gihon. Here is an excerpt of the 11th Circuit Cases. If anyone reading this newsletter has any suggestions, please contact me at John@slgattorneys.com or our editor, Bruce Buchanan at firstname.lastname@example.org
District Court Opinions
Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement v. Ayvazian et al., 1:15-CV-23213-CIV-Scola (S.D. Fla. Sept. 2015) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) brought this action to secure an order allowing ICE to administer involuntary medical testing and force feeding to three non-citizens detained by ICE. Three ICE detainees engaged in a hunger strike to protest their treatment in Removal Proceedings. A medical officer employed by DHS testified that due to the hunger strike, the detainees’ health had deteriorated to the point where ICE had three options: 1) let them die; 2) administer involuntary nutrition; or 3) release the hunger strikers. The Court determined that options one and three were unreasonable and that option two was both a reasonable and permissible solution to the hunger strike while balancing the hunger strikers’ constitutional rights against ICE’s legitimate security interests.
Said v. Hassell, 4:15-CV-0879-VEH-JHE (N.D. Ala. Aug. 2015) Petitioner’s allegations that he was being illegally detained by the ICE pending his removal to Somalia were dismissed by the District Court. Said, a native of Somalia, was detained at the Etowah County Detention Center when he filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. §2241. He claimed he was being illegally detained by ICE and sought his release. Two months later, Said was released on an order of supervision. Because Said had been released, his petition was rendered moot as it was no longer an active case or controversy. The Court found that the two exceptions to the mootness doctrine, collateral consequences and repetition evading review, did not apply.
Martinez v. Hassell, 4:14-CV-01004-AKK-SGC (N.D. Ala. Aug. 2015) Martinez filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus while detained at an ICE facility in Gadsden, Alabama. Because Martinez had been deported to El Salvador, the U.S. District Court found it could not provide meaningful relief and granted Respondent’s motion to dismiss.
Thomas v. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, et al., CV-5:13-cv-126 (S.D. Ga. Aug. 2015) Petitioner filed an action for a writ of habeas corpus while detained. The Magistrate Judge recommended dismissal and the case be closed. The petition sought to terminate an ICE detainer. Petitioner claimed it affected his public safety factor by preventing his release to a halfway house and entry into an early release program, resulting in more time served and a harsher sentence. This claim was dismissed. Under Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 523 (2002), the U.S. Supreme Court held that it is mandatory for a claimant to exhaust available administrative remedies. Petitioner had never put forth this claim through the proper prison procedures before filing suit.
Furthermore, the Court agreed with the Respondents that, because the detainer did not constitute custody for purposes of §2241, it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear the claim. Petitioner had not been served with an order to show cause or a final deportation order, and was not, in fact, in removal proceedings. The Court noted that in Oguejiofor v. Attorney Gen. of the United States, 277 F.3d 1305, 1308 n.2 (2002), the 11th Circuit held that a stand-alone detainer does not put an individual in custody of ICE. Rather, a detainer is a form of notice by ICE to prison officials that a person has other pending charges and that ICE will need to determine whether removal proceedings should be imposed in the future.
Petitioner also claimed that he was a U.S. citizen through his status as a stepchild of a U.S. citizen prior to turning 18, which claim was also dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Again, he had not exhausted the proper administrative remedies prior to filing his petition. According to Sundar v. INS, 328 F.3d 1320, 1323-24 (11th Cir. 2003), all available administrative remedies must be exhausted prior to a federal court having subject matter jurisdiction over a claim. Petitioner had filed a Form N-600 with USCIS. At the time of the hearing, the application had not yet been adjudicated. The Court noted that inmates can bring derivative citizenship claims under certain conditions, which he did not meet. The first is after USCIS denies the N-600 and the Administrative Appeals Unit denies the appeal. The second is where a claim of derivative citizenship has been denied as part of an individual’s removal proceedings.