Ibrahim v. Sessions et al
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS of the Magistrate Judge that the Court DISMISS WITHOUT PREJUDICE Ibrahim's 1 Petition, DENY Ibrahim's 9 MOTION to Grant Petition, DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case, and DENY Ibrahim in forma paup eris status on appeal. Any party seeking to object to this Report and Recommendation is ordered to file specific written objections within fourteen (14) days of the date on which this Report and Recommendation is entered. (Objections to R&R due by 8/10/2017). ORDER directing service of the REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS of the Magistrate Judge. Signed by Magistrate Judge R. Stan Baker on 7/27/2017. (csr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
CIVIL ACTION NO.: 5:17-cv-48
ORDER and MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Petitioner Abdullahi Ibrahim (“Ibrahim”), who is currently in the physical custody of
United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) at the Folkston ICE Processing
Center in this District, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.1
(Doc. 1.) After the Court ordered service, Respondent filed a Response arguing that the Court
should dismiss the Petition. (Doc. 8.) Ibrahim filed a Reply, as well as other pleadings.
(Docs. 9, 11, 12.) For the reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND that the Court DISMISS
WITHOUT PREJUDICE Ibrahim’s Petition, (doc. 1), DENY Ibrahim’s Motion to Grant
Petition, (doc. 9), DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case, and DENY Ibrahim in
forma pauperis status on appeal.
Ibrahim, a native and citizen of Ghana, applied for admission to the United States on May
6, 2016, at the San Ysidro, California, port of entry by claiming a fear of returning to his country.
(Doc. 8-1, p. 1.) After referral for a credible fear interview, an Asylum Pre-Screening Officer
Patrick Gartland is the Warden of the Folkston Processing Center and is the proper respondent to this
petition. See Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426, 436 (2004). Therefore, the Clerk of the Court is
DIRECTED to amend the caption of this case to name Patrick Gartland as the proper Respondent.
with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services referred Ibrahim’s case to an
Immigration Judge. (Id. at 2.) On October 18, 2016, the Immigration Judge ordered Ibrahim
removed to Ghana. (Id.) He did not appeal the Immigration Judge’s decision.
However, Ibrahim has not yet been removed to Ghana. On October 23, 2016, ICE mailed
a request to the Embassy of Ghana for issuance of travel documents, but Ghana has yet to issue
those documents. (Id.) Accordingly, ICE conducted reviews of Ibrahim’s custody conditions on
January 24, 2017, and April 24, 2017. (Id.) During both of those reviews, ICE found that
Ibrahim’s removal was likely in the reasonably foreseeable future, and thus, decided to continue
Ibrahim’s detention. (Id.) On May 23, 2017, ICE Removal and International Operations (RIO),
a division of Enforcement and Removal Operations at ICE Headquarters which assists the local
field offices in obtaining travel documents, advised the Miami Field Office that the Embassy of
Ghana would soon be conducting telephonic interviews with a large number of detainees. (Id.)
On May 31, 2017, RIO informed the Miami Field Office that the Embassy of Ghana intended to
complete a list of individuals to be interviewed by the end of June of 2017. (Id.)
Ibrahim filed this Section 2241 action on May 1, 2017. (Doc. 1.) Therein, he argues that
he should be released pursuant to the ruling in Zadvydas v. Davis, 533 U.S. 678 (2001). Ibrahim
contends that he will not likely be removed to Ghana in the reasonably foreseeable future
because the government of Ghana “is [a] dictatorial and corrupted administration” that “do[es]
not want Ghana Citizens to come back to their home land Country [sic].” (Doc. 1, pp. 10–11.)
On May 9, 2017, the Court ordered the United States Marshal to serve the originally named
Respondents with a copy of the Petition and to respond to the Petition within twenty days of
service. (Doc. 5.) The Marshal served Respondent on May 15, 2017, (doc. 6), and Respondent
filed his Response, through counsel, on June 5, 2017. 2
Dismissal of Ibrahim’s Section 2241 Petition
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, “when an alien is ordered removed, the
Attorney General shall remove the alien from the United States within a period of 90 days.”
8 U.S.C. §1231(a)(1)(A).
8 U.S.C. §1231(a)(2).
During that period, the Attorney General must detain the alien.
However, any continued detention under that statute must not be
indefinite. In Zadvydas, the United States Supreme Court held that indefinite detention of aliens
raises serious constitutional concerns. 533 U.S. at 701. Thus, once an order of removal becomes
final, ICE should make every effort to remove the alien within a reasonable time. Id. The
Supreme Court found that six months is a presumptively reasonable period to detain a removable
alien awaiting deportation. Id.
However, this does not entail that every alien detained longer than six months must be
Rather, to state a claim for habeas relief under Zadvydas, an alien must
(1) demonstrate that he has been detained for more than six months after a final order of
removal; and (2) “provide evidence of a good reason to believe that there is no significant
Ibrahim filed a Motion to Grant Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on June 6, 2017. (Doc. 9.)
Therein, he argued that Respondent failed to comply with the Court’s Order to file a Show Cause
Response within twenty days from the date of service. (Doc. 9.) However, Ibrahim confuses the date of
the Court’s Order with the date of service. While the Court’s Order was issued on May 9, 2017,
Respondent was not served until May 15, 2017. The Court set the response deadline twenty days after
service, resulting in a deadline of June 4, 2017. That deadline fell on a Sunday. Thus, pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(a)(1)(C), the deadline was extended to Monday, June 5, 2017, and
Respondent timely filed his Show Cause Response on that day. Additionally, even if the Response had
been untimely (which it was not), neither default judgment nor summary judgment is appropriate due to a
respondent’s failure to timely respond to a petition for writ of habeas corpus. See, e.g., Aziz v. Leferve,
830 F.2d 184, 187 (11th Cir. 1987) (finding that a default judgment is not contemplated in habeas corpus
cases); Goodman v. Keohane, 663 F.2d 1044, 1048 n.4 (11th Cir. 1981) (rejecting petitioner’s argument
that the government’s tardiness in responding to petition entitled him to habeas relief). Therefore, I
RECOMMEND that the Court DENY Ibrahim’s Motion to Grant Petition, (doc. 9).
likelihood of removal in the reasonably foreseeable future.” Akinwale v. Ashcroft, 287 F.3d
1050, 1052 (11th Cir. 2002). If a petitioner makes these showings, the burden shifts to the
Government to respond with evidence to rebut that showing. Zadvydas, 533 U.S. at 701.
Ibrahim has satisfied the first prong of Akinwale (i.e., detention beyond the six-month
removal period). His final order of removal was issued on October 18, 2016, and he did not
appeal. Thus, the six-month mark passed on April 18, 2017. Nevertheless, he has failed to
satisfy the second prong of Akinwale. He has not presented any evidence of a good reason to
believe that there is no significant likelihood of removal in the reasonably foreseeable future.
Akinwale, 287 F.3d at 1052. Ibrahim has not argued, much less presented evidence, that any
department of the United States has hindered his removal. Rather, in his Petition, he makes
conclusory arguments that the government of Ghana is a dictatorship that does not want its
citizens to come back to their homeland. (Doc. 1, pp. 10–11.) Additionally, in his Reply,
Ibrahim argues that he is not likely to be removed in the reasonably foreseeable future because
ICE has been unable to remove him during the six months following his removal order, despite
his cooperation. (Doc. 11, pp. 4–5.)
Ibrahim’s conclusory and generalized allegations regarding Ghana’s intentions and
practices are insufficient to state a claim that there is no significant likelihood of his removal in
the reasonably foreseeable future. Fahim v. Ashcroft, 227 F. Supp. 2d 1359, 1365 (N.D. Ga.
2002) (Egyptian petitioner’s “bare allegations are insufficient to demonstrate a significant
unlikelihood of his removal in the reasonably foreseeable future.”). Ibrahim’s wholly conclusory
allegations lack any support in the record and do not require consideration by this Court, let
alone entitle him to any relief. See Caderno v. United States, 256 F.3d 1213, 1217 (11th Cir.
2001) (vague, conclusory allegations in a Section 2255 motion insufficient to state basis for
relief); Tejada v. Dugger, 941 F.2d 1551, 1559 (11th Cir. 1991) (quoting Stano v. Dugger, 901
F.2d 898, 899 (11th Cir. 1990) (petitioner not entitled to habeas relief “when his claims are
merely ‘conclusory allegations unsupported by specifics’ or ‘contentions that in the face of the
record are wholly incredible.’”)).
Equally unavailing is Ibrahim’s argument that the Court can somehow presume that he
will not be removed in the reasonably foreseeable future because he was not removed within 180
days of the removal order. Under Ibrahim’s line of reasoning, the Court must grant relief any
time a petitioner is held for longer than six months after a removal order. This would render the
second prong of Akinwale meaningless and contradict the holding of Zadvydas. Furthermore,
Ibrahim does not explain how the past lack of progress in the issuance of his travel documents
means that Ghana will not produce the documents in the foreseeable future. See Fahim, 227 F.
Supp. 2d at 1366 (“The lack of visible progress since the INS requested travel documents from
the Egyptian government does not in and of itself meet [petitioner’s] burden of showing that
there is no significant likelihood of removal. ‘[I]t simply shows that the bureaucratic gears of the
INS are slowly grinding away.’ [Khan v. Fasano, 194 F. Supp. 2d 1134, 1137 (S.D. Cal. 2001).]
In other words, the mere fact that the Egyptian government has taken its time in responding to
the INS request for travel documents does not mean that it will not do so in the future.”). While
Ibrahim has shown bureaucratic delays in his removal proceedings, he has not demonstrated a
significant unlikelihood of his removal in the reasonably foreseeable future.
Furthermore, even if the Court were to accept Ibrahim’s speculation regarding Ghana’s
inaction on his proceedings, Respondent has rebutted that showing.
The Government has
presented evidence that the Ghana Embassy has responded in some measure to ICE’s request for
travel documents. (Doc. 8-1, p. 2.) The Ghana Embassy advised ICE that it was scheduling
telephonic interviews with a large number of detainees in late June of 2017.
contradicts Ibrahim’s claims that Ghana refuses to take any action on ICE’s removal requests.
Additionally, Respondent has produced an affidavit from Alberto Cornavaca, an ICE
Deportation Officer, who declares ICE will schedule Ibrahim’s removal as soon as Ghana issues
his travel documents. (Doc. 8-1, p. 3.)
Ibrahim has failed to present any facts indicating that ICE is incapable of executing his
removal order and that his detention will be of an indefinite nature. However, circumstances
could eventually change in Ibrahim’s removal situation to the point that he could present a
plausible claim for relief. Accordingly, the Court should DISMISS his Petition WITHOUT
PREJUDICE. Akinwale, 287 F.3d at 1052 (“Because circumstances may ultimately change in
[petitioner’s] situation, we affirm the dismissal without prejudicing [petitioner’s] ability to file a
new § 2241 petition in the future that may seek to state a claim upon which habeas relief can be
Leave to Appeal in Forma Pauperis
The Court should also deny Ibrahim leave to appeal in forma pauperis. Though Ibrahim
has, of course, not yet filed a notice of appeal, it would be appropriate to address these issues in
the Court’s order of dismissal. Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(3) (trial court may certify that appeal of
party proceeding in forma pauperis is not taken in good faith “before or after the notice of appeal
is filed”). An appeal cannot be taken in forma pauperis if the trial court certifies that the appeal
is not taken in good faith. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3); Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(3). Good faith in this
context must be judged by an objective standard. Busch v. Cty. of Volusia, 189 F.R.D. 687, 691
(M.D. Fla. 1999). A party does not proceed in good faith when he seeks to advance a frivolous
claim or argument. See Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 445 (1962). A claim or
argument is frivolous when it appears the factual allegations are clearly baseless or the legal
theories are indisputably meritless. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989); Carroll v.
Gross, 984 F.2d 392, 393 (11th Cir. 1993). Stated another way, an in forma pauperis action is
frivolous, and thus, not brought in good faith, if it is “without arguable merit either in law or
fact.” Napier v. Preslicka, 314 F.3d 528, 531 (11th Cir. 2002); see also Brown v. United States,
Nos. 407CV085, 403CR001, 2009 WL 307872, at *1–2 (S.D. Ga. Feb. 9, 2009).
Based on the above analysis of Ibrahim’s Petition and Respondent’s Response, there are
no non-frivolous issues to raise on appeal, and an appeal would not be taken in good faith. Thus,
the Court should DENY in forma pauperis status on appeal.
Based on the foregoing, I RECOMMEND that the Court DISMISS WITHOUT
PREJUDICE Ibrahim’s Petition, (doc. 1), DENY Ibrahim’s Motion to Grant Petition, (doc. 9),
and DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case. I further RECOMMEND that the Court
DENY Ibrahim leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal.
The Court ORDERS any party seeking to object to this Report and Recommendation to
file specific written objections within fourteen (14) days of the date on which this Report and
Recommendation is entered. Any objections asserting that the Magistrate Judge failed to address
any contention raised in the pleading must also be included. Failure to do so will bar any later
challenge or review of the factual findings or legal conclusions of the Magistrate Judge. See 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140 (1985). A copy of the objections must be
served upon all other parties to the action. The filing of objections is not a proper vehicle
through which to make new allegations or present additional evidence.
Upon receipt of objections meeting the specificity requirement set out above, a United
States District Judge will make a de novo determination of those portions of the report, proposed
findings, or recommendation to which objection is made and may accept, reject, or modify in
whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the Magistrate Judge. Objections not
meeting the specificity requirement set out above will not be considered by a District Judge. A
party may not appeal a Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation directly to the United
States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Appeals may be made only from a final
judgment entered by or at the direction of a District Judge. The Court DIRECTS the Clerk of
Court to serve a copy of this Report and Recommendation upon Ibrahim and Respondent.
SO ORDERED and REPORTED and RECOMMENDED, this 27th day of July, 2017.
R. STAN BAKER
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
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