Rios-Troncoso v. Sessions et al

Filing 19

ORDER - Petitioner's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1 ) is granted. Petitioners Motion for Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order (Doc. 3 ), and two Motions to Expedite Ruling (Docs. [1 6] and 18 ) are denied as moot. Within 20 days of the date of this Order, Respondents must provide Petitioner with a hearing before an Immigration Judge with the power to grant his release on bond if the Immigration Judge determines that he qualifies for release under applicable law. The Clerk of Court must terminate this action and enter judgment accordingly. Signed by Judge David G Campbell on 09/01/2017.(KAS)

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1 2 ASH WO 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Jonathan Rios-Troncoso, 10 No. CV 17-01492-PHX-DGC (MHB) Petitioner, 11 v. 12 Jeff B. Sessions, III, et al., ORDER 13 Respondents. 14 15 On May 16, 2017, Petitioner Jonathan Rios-Troncoso filed, through counsel, a 16 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1) and a Motion for 17 Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order (Doc. 3). On June 5, 2017, 18 the Court entered an Order to Show Cause requiring Respondents Jeff Sessions, III, John 19 F. Kelly, and Enrique Lucero1 to show cause why the Petition should not be summarily 20 granted for the reasons set forth in the Order. 21 On June 16, 2017, Respondents filed a combined Answer and Response to the 22 Order to Show Cause and Response to the Petition (Doc. 14). On June 19, 2017, 23 Petitioner filed a Reply (Doc. 15), followed subsequently by two Notices of 24 Supplemental Authority and Motions to Expedite Ruling (Docs. 16 and 18).2 The Court 25 26 27 28 1 The Court dismissed Respondents Juan P. Osuna and Richard Phelps after concluding that these individuals were not proper Respondents in a habeas case challenging a petitioner’s confinement. 2 Respondents have also filed a Response to the first Notice of Supplemental Authority (Doc. 17). 1 will grant the Petition and deny as moot Petitioner’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction 2 and/or Temporary Restraining Order, as well as the two Motions to Expedite. 3 I. Background 4 Petitioner is a native and citizen of Mexico. Petitioner first entered the United 5 States in June 2014 and was subsequently removed in 2015. (Doc. 1 at 5). Sometime 6 thereafter, Petitioner returned to the United States seeking asylum. (Id.). When DHS 7 sought to reinstate Petitioner’s prior order of removal, Petitioner claimed a fear of 8 returning to his country of origin and the reinstatement of his removal order was 9 suspended pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 1208.31. (Id. at 6.) Petitioner was subsequently 10 detained by ICE and given a reasonable fear interview, as a result of which he received “a 11 positive reasonable fear determination” and was placed into “withholding only 12 proceedings” pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 1208.2(c)(3). (Id.). 13 As part of those proceedings, Petitioner applied for Withholding of Removal and 14 relief under the Convention Against Torture Act. (Id.) Petitioner’s hearing on his claim 15 for protection from return to Mexico is presently scheduled for September 5, 2017. (Id.). 16 Meanwhile, on April 12, 2017, Petitioner filed a request for a bond 17 redetermination hearing with the Immigration Judge. (Id.). No hearing was held. (Id.). 18 Instead, on April 28, 2017, Immigration Judge Phelps denied the motion on the basis that 19 he lacked jurisdiction to consider the motion because Petitioner “is in Withholding-Only 20 proceedings.” (Id., Doc. 1-7). Petitioner’s appeal of that ruling remains pending. 21 II. Petition 22 Petitioner states that he has now been “detained longer than six months under the 23 authority of either 8 U.S.C. § 1236(a) or 8 U.S.C. § 1231(a).” (Id. at 2.) Petitioner 24 contends that pursuant to Rodriguez v. Robbins (Rodriguez III), 804 F.3d 1060 (9th Cir. 25 2015), and Diouf v. Napolitano, 634 F.3d 1081 (9th Cir. 2011), mandatory detention 26 under these statutes terminates after six months, at which time the detained alien must be 27 granted a hearing to determine whether he or she may be released from custody on bond. 28 (Id. at 2-3.). Similarly, in his Motion for Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary -2- 1 Restraining Order, Petitioner seeks an order requiring Respondents to provide him with 2 an individualized bond hearing as soon as possible. (Doc. 3 at 1-2). 3 Petitioner acknowledges that he has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies 4 because his challenge to the IJ’s decision is still pending. He argues, however, that 5 exhaustion is a prudential rather than a jurisdictional, requirement and the factors 6 favoring application of the exhaustion requirement are not present here. Specifically, 7 Petitioner claims that an administrative appellate record is not material to “the purely 8 legal issue of whether aliens in withholding-only proceedings are entitled . . . to bond 9 hearings after six months of ICE detention” (Doc. 1 at 21); that a decision to waive the 10 exhaustion requirement will not encourage litigants to bypass the administrative review 11 scheme, but will instead prevent this issue from arising in the future; and that BIA review 12 would not preclude the need for judicial review because the parties would undoubtedly 13 seek further review in this Court or in the Court of Appeals. 14 III. Response to Order to Show Cause 15 Respondents argue that the Petition should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction 16 because Petitioner has not yet exhausted his administrative remedies. According to 17 Respondents, this action is an improper attempt to circumvent the administrative review 18 process and would, if successful, encourage other litigants to sidestep the administrative 19 review scheme in favor of immediate action in the district courts. 20 Respondents also argue that the Petition is subject to dismissal on the merits. 21 They claim that the order of reinstatement is a final order and that Petitioner is therefore 22 detained pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1231, not § 1226. Thus, according to Respondents, 23 Petitioner is in withholding-only proceedings, not removal proceedings, and the IJ 24 properly held that the immigration court lacked jurisdiction under 8 C.F.R. §§ 1003.19(a) 25 and 1236.1(d) to redetermine Petitioner’s custody status. Respondents further allege that 26 the Ninth Circuit’s decisions in Diouf II and Rodriguez III do not support Petitioner’s 27 claim because those holdings do not apply to aliens subject to reinstated orders of 28 removal. -3- 1 IV. Discussion 2 A. 3 While there was disagreement as to the source of the government’s detention 4 authority in this case, after the Order to Show Cause was issued, the Ninth Circuit held 5 that the finality of a reinstated removal order is not affected by the pendency of 6 withholding-only proceedings. 7 2871513, at *4 (9th Cir. Jul. 6, 2017). Thus, aliens in withholding-only proceedings are 8 detained pursuant to the government’s § 1231(a) post-removal detention authority, rather 9 than the pre-removal detention authority provided by § 1226(a). Id. The Court therefore 10 Detention Authority Padilla-Ramirez v. Bible, ___ F.3d ____, 2017 WL concludes that Petitioner is being detained pursuant to § 1231(a). 11 B. 12 Respondents argue that the Court should decline to exercise jurisdiction over the 13 Petition because Petitioner has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Yet, as 14 Petitioner notes, exhaustion is a prudential rather than a jurisdictional requirement. Singh 15 v. Holder, 638 F.3d 1196, 1203 n. 3 (9th Cir. 2011). Courts may require prudential 16 exhaustion if (1) agency expertise makes agency consideration necessary to generate a 17 proper record and reach a proper decision; (2) relaxation of the requirement would 18 encourage the deliberate bypass of the administrative scheme; or (3) administrative 19 review is likely to allow the agency to correct its own mistakes and to preclude the need 20 for judicial review. Puga v. Chertoff, 488 F.3d 812, 815 (9th Cir. 2007). Even if these 21 factors favor application of the exhaustion requirement, however, waiver of the 22 requirement may nevertheless be appropriate “where administrative remedies are 23 inadequate or not efficacious, pursuit of administrative remedies would be a futile 24 gesture, irreparable injury will result, or the administrative proceedings would be void.” 25 Laing v. Ashcroft, 370 F.3d 994, 1000 (9th Cir. 2004) (citation and quotation marks 26 omitted). Exhaustion 27 Respondents rely solely on the second factor enumerated in Puga to argue that 28 Petitioner should be precluded from seeking review in this Court until his BIA appeal is -4- 1 complete. But the Court has identified no fewer than six cases in this District in which 2 the exhaustion requirement was waived for similarly-situated petitioners. See Rivas- 3 Moreira v. Lynch, CV 16-04518-PHX-DJH (BSB), Doc. 17; Mendez-Cruz v. Lynch, CV 4 16-04416-PHX-GMS (DMF), Doc. 18; Velarde-Maldonado v. Sessions, CV 17-01018- 5 PHX-JJT (MHB), Doc. 16; Urias-Alvarenga v. Sessions, CV 17-01005-PHX-JJT (JFM), 6 Doc. 17; Fuentes-Barnett v. Sessions, CV 17-00858-PHX-DGC (JZB), Doc. 24; Gomez- 7 Vasquez v. Lynch, CV 17-00269-PHX-JJT (JFM), Doc. 11. The Court finds that the 8 potential for irreparable harm to Petitioner, in the form of continued unlawful detention, 9 outweighs any incremental incentive that a waiver of the exhaustion requirement would 10 provide to potential litigants. 11 C. 12 Petitioner maintains that he is entitled to a bond hearing pursuant to Diouf II. In 13 that case, the Ninth Circuit addressed the due process requirements for prolonged 14 detention under 8 U.S.C. §§ 1226(a) and 1231(a)(6). The court concluded that because 15 prolonged detention of an alien without an individualized determination of flight risk and 16 danger would “raise serious constitutional concerns,” aliens facing prolonged detention 17 under § 1231(a)(6) “are entitled to a bond hearing before an immigration judge and [are] 18 entitled to be released from detention unless the government establishes that the alien 19 poses a risk of flight or a danger to the community.” Diouf II, 634 F.3d at 1092. 20 Respondents’ efforts to distinguish Diouf II are unavailing. Application of Diouf II Although the 21 petitioner in Diouf II was undertaking a collateral challenge to his removal order, the 22 Ninth Circuit expressly extended the right to a bond hearing to all aliens detained under 23 § 1231(a)(6), stating: “Section 1231(a)(6) encompasses aliens such as Diouf, whose 24 collateral challenge to his removal order (a motion to reopen) is pending in the court of 25 appeals, as well as to aliens who have exhausted all direct and collateral review of their 26 removal orders but who, for one reason or another, have not yet been removed from the 27 United States.” Diouf II, 634 F.3d at 1085 (emphasis added). Respondents do not 28 identify any basis for concluding that Petitioner falls outside the latter category of aliens. -5- 1 Thus, the clear language of Diouf II, which was echoed in Padilla-Ramirez, 2017 WL 2 2871513, at *2, extinguishes any doubt that the government is required to provide 3 Petitioner with a bond hearing before an immigration judge. The Petition for Writ of 4 Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 will be granted accordingly. 5 V. Preliminary Injunction 6 In his Motion for Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order, 7 Petitioner seeks the same relief requested in the Petition, namely, an order requiring 8 Respondents to provide him with an individualized bond hearing. In light of the Court’s 9 ruling on the Petition, those motions will be denied as moot. The Court will also deny 10 Petitioner’s two motions for expedited ruling as moot in light of this order. 11 IT IS ORDERED: 12 13 14 (1) Petitioner’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1) is granted. (2) Petitioner’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary 15 Restraining Order (Doc. 3), and two Motions to Expedite Ruling (Docs. 16 and 18) are 16 denied as moot. 17 (3) Within 20 days of the date of this Order, Respondents must provide 18 Petitioner with a hearing before an Immigration Judge with the power to grant his release 19 on bond if the Immigration Judge determines that he qualifies for release under 20 applicable law. 21 22 23 (4) The Clerk of Court must terminate this action and enter judgment accordingly. Dated this 1st day of September, 2017. 24 25 26 27 28 -6-

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