RODRIGUEZ GARCIA v. GREEN
OPINION. Signed by Judge Kevin McNulty on 4/26/2016. (JB, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
MANUEL A. RODRIGUEZ GARCIA,
Civ. No. 16-0565 (KM)
WARDEN CHARLES GREEN,
KEVIN MCNULTYg U.S.D.J.
The petitioner, Manuel A. Rodriguez Garcia, is an immigration detainee currently lodged
at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark, New Jersey. He is proceeding pro se with a
petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 that challenges his current
immigration detention. For the following reasons, the habeas petition will be denied without
Mr. Garcia is a citizen of Honduras. He states that he entered the United States in 2000 at
the age of 52. On June 10, 2014, the United States Department of Homeland Security issued a
Notice to Appear, which charged Mr. Garcia with removability on the basis that he entered this
country without authorization. Mr. Garcia has been in immigration detention since around
September 3, 2014.’
Mr. Garcia states in his habeas petition that he has been in immigration detention since August
4, 2014. The respondent states in its brief that Mr. Garcia has been in immigration detention
since September 4, 2014. Respondent has included in the record the arrest warrant, which
indicates that it was served on September 3, 2014. (See Dkt. No. 6-5) Assuming August 4, 2014,
is the start date of Mr. Garcia’s immigration detention, this one-month difference would not
change the outcome.
Mr. Garcia has had two bond hearings since he has been in immigration detention. On
October 3, 2014, an Immigration Judge (“Ii”) denied bond. (See Dkt. No. 6-7) On November 17,
2015, an IJ conducted another bond hearing, and again denied release on bond. (See Dkt. No. 68)
The Court received Mr. Garcia’s habeas petition in this action on February 1, 2016. Mr.
Garcia seeks his immediate release from immigration detention. Alternatively, Mr. Garcia
requests that this Court order a bond hearing. The respondent filed a response in opposition to
the habeas petition on March 11, 2016. In the response, respondent states that a removal hearing
is scheduled for March 30, 2016. Mr. Garcia did not file a reply brief.
LEGAL STANDARD: IMMIGRATION DETENTION
The Attorney General has the authority to detain aliens during the “pre-removal” period,
that is, while removal proceedings are ongoing but before the issuance of a final order of
removal. Section 1226(a) of Title 8 of the United States Code permits the Attorney General to
detain or release an alien pending a decision on whether the alien is to be removed from the
On a warrant issued by the Attorney General, an alien may be
arrested and detained pending a decision on whether the alien is to
be removed from the United States. Except as provided in
subsection (c) of this section and pending such decision, the
(1) may continue to detain the arrested alien; and
(2) may release the alien on—
(A) bond of at least $1,500 with security approved
by, and containing conditions prescribed by, the
(B) conditional parole;
“Except as provided in subsection (c)” is included because, under Section 1226(c),
certain criminal aliens are subject to pre-removal detention that is mandatory:
The Attorney General shall take into custody any alien who—
(A) is inadmissible by reason of having committed any offense
covered in section 11 82(a)(2) of this title,
(B) is deportable by reason of having committed any offense
covered in section 1227(a)(2)(a)(ii), (A)(iii), (B), (C), or (D) of this
(C) is deportable under section 1227(a)(2)(A)(i) of this title on the
basis of an offense for which the alien has been sentence to a term
of imprisonment of at least 1 year, or
(D) is inadmissible under section 11 82(a)(3)(B) of this title or
deportable under section 1 227(a)(4)(B) of this title,
when the alien is released, without regard to whether the alien is
release on parole, supervised release, or probation, and without
regard to whether the alien may be arrested or imprisoned again for
the same offense.
A. Request for Release
Mr. Garcia cites the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit’s decisions in
Diop v. IC’E/Homeland Sec., 656 F.3d 221 (3d Cir. 2011) and C’havez-Alvarez v. Warden York
cnty. Prison, 783 F.3d 469 (3d Cir. 2015). Those two cases relate to pre-removal immigration
detention. In Diop, for example, the Third Circuit held that mandatory pre-removal detention
under Section 1226(c) may extend to the point that “the Government must justify its continued
authority to detain [a petitioner] at a hearing at which it bears the burden of proof.” Diop, 656
F.3d at 235. Diop and Chavez-Alvarez do not apply to Mr. Garcia’s case, however, because he
has been detained under the discretionary pre-removal regime of § 1226(a), not
§ 1226(c). As a
1226(a) detainee, Mr. Garcia is entitled to a bond hearing. In fact, he has already received two.
Both times bond was denied, and it does not appear that Mr. Garcia has moved for a bond
redetermination at the administrative level pursuant to 8 C.F.R.
§ 1003.19(e). See Nepomueceno
v. Holder, No. 11-6825, 2012 WL 715266, at *4 (D.N.J. Mar. 5, 2012) (dismissing habeas
petition of 1226(a) detainee who had received a bond hearing).
A detainee stuck in pre-removal limbo for an indefinite period may be entitled to relief.
There is authority recognizing the possibility of such relief, albeit in the course of denying it. See
Bulatov v. Hendricks, No. 11—0845, 2012 WL 4753366, at *7 (D.N.J. Oct. 4, 2012) (denying
relief as to 30—month detention) (citing Contant v. Holder, 352 F. App’x 692 (3d Cir. 2009);
Prieto—Romero v. Clark, 534 F.3d 1053 (9th Cir. 2008)). In Contant, the Third Circuit held that
the alien petitioner’s nineteen-month pre-removal immigration detention was not “indefinite,”
because a decision on his removal appeared reasonably foreseeable and there was no indication
that he could not be removed to his country of origin. See 352 F. App’x at 695-96. In Prieto—
Romero, the petitioner had been detained for three years. The Ninth Circuit nevertheless found
that the petitioner’s detention was not “indefinite,” because a petition for review of the
administrative order of removal was pending, and there was no indication that the petitioner
could not be repatriated to his country of origin if he was ordered removed. See 534 F.3d at
Mr. Garcia has been in pre-removal immigration detention for approximately twenty
months as of this writing. He has had the benefit of not one, but two bond hearings. This twentymonth delay is either close to or shorter than the periods found not sufficient to warrant relief in
the cases cited above. Mr. Garcia has proffered no facts to suggest that resolution of the removal
issue will be delayed indefinitely. Indeed, as stated by the respondent in its answer, a removal
hearing in this case was scheduled for March 30, 2016. To the extent that the habeas petition
intends to allege that the pre-removal detention has been impermissibly protracted, it is denied.
This denial, however, is without prejudice to another application, should Mr. Garcia’s pre
removal immigration detention continue for a substantial period of time beyond the date of this
Opinion, without substantial justification. In addition, 1 will direct the government to inform the
court as to the current status of the removal hearing.
B. Request for Bond Hearing
In addition to seeking his release from immigration detention through this habeas
petition, Mr. Garcia alternatively requests that this Court order a bond hearing. The Court may
order a bond hearing where the bond hearing was conducted unlawfully, or where the petitioner
has erroneously been denied a hearing. See Harris v. Herrey, No. 13-4365, 2013 WL 3884191, at
*1 (D.N.J. July 26, 2013) (noting that petitioner has the right to ask District Court that a bond
hearing be held, but that Court does not have the power to overrule denial of release after bona
fide hearing); Morrison v. Elwood, No. 12-4649, 2013 WL 323340, at *3 (D.N.J. Jan. 28, 2013)
(noting that petitioner may be able to seek habeas relief from court in the form of ordering a
curative bond hearing).
As previously stated, however, Mr. Garcia has already had two bond hearings before an
IJ. Furthermore, the regulations provide that Mr. Garcia may seek a bond redetermination from
the IJ. See 8 C.F.R.
§ 1003.19(e) (“After an initial bond redetermination, an alien’s request for a
subsequent bond redetermination shall be made in writing and shall be considered only upon a
showing that the alien’s circumstances have change materially since the prior bond
Unlike the mandatory detention statute at issue in [Deinore v.]
Kim, [538 U.S. 510 (2003),] § 1226(a) provides for individualized
detention determinations. Aliens detained pursuant to § 1226(a)
may be released if they demonstrate they would not pose a danger
to property or persons and they are likely to appear for any future
proceedings. 8 C.F.R. § 236.1 (c)(8). The alien may request a bond
redetermination hearing beibre an IJ. 8 C.F.R. § 236(d)(l). An IJ
may grant an alien’s request for bond redetermination where the
alien has shown that his “circumstances have changed materially
since the prior bond redetermination.” 8 C.F.R. § 1003.19(e). The
alien may appeal the IJ’s bond decision to the BIA. 8 C.F.R. §
Contant, 352 F. App’x at 695.
The record does not indicate, nor does Mr. Garcia state, that he has sought a bond
redetermination pursuant to 8 C.F.R.
§ 1003.19(e). Mr. Garcia has not established that there is
any substantial reason to hold a third bond hearing. But, even if there were, the proper procedure
would be for him to seek a redetermination from the IJ. Accord Arciaga v. Asher No. 14—1659,
2015 WL 500189, at *3 (W.D. Wash. Jan. 23, 2015) (noting that petitioner who is detained under
§ 1226(a) and did not request another bond redetermination hearing under 8 C.F.R. § 1003.19(e)
failed to show a due process violation); Gillis v. Decker, No. 13—0172, 2013 WL 4718913, at
*34 (M.D. Pa. Sept. 3, 2013) (dismissing habeas petition without prejudice where petitioner
failed to file subsequent bond request as per 8 C.F.R.
§ 1003.19 as he still had remedies available
to challenge his continued detention before having court consider his habeas petition); Mutebi v.
Mukasey, No. 07—2654, 2008 WL 4297035, at *6 (D. Cob. Sept. ii, 2008) (“The record
contains no indication that Applicant has exhausted his administrative remedies by requesting a
Accordingly, even assuming that the Court had jurisdiction to review
Applicant’s custody status pursuant to
§ 1226(a), Applicant is required to exhaust his
administrative remedies by filing an application for redetermination of his bond status with the
immigration court, and by appealing any unsatisfactory decision to the BIA).
Nothing in the record suggests that Mr. Garcia sought or was prevented from seeking a
bond redetermination under 8 C.F.R.
§ 1003.19(e). Therefore, the Court will not order a new
bond hearing for Mr. Garcia at this time and the habeas petition will be dismissed without
For the foregoing reasons, the habeas petition will be denied without prejudice. An
appropriate order will be entered.
DATED: April 29, 2016
United States District Judge
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