ORIAKHI v. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (DHS) et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Kevin McNulty on 12/21/2016. (JB, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civ. No. 16-2935 (KM)
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY,
KEVIN MCNULTY. U.S.D.J.
Petitioner, Felix Oriakhi, is an immigration detainee currently lodged at the Hudson
County Correctional Facility in Kearny, New Jersey. He is proceeding pro se with a petition for
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241, and also seeks mandamus relief. Mr.
Oriakhi’s application to proceed informapauperis will be granted based on the information
provided therein. For the following reasons, Mr. Oriakhi’s petition for habeas/mandamus relief
will be summarily dismissed.
The following factual background is taken from Mr. Oriakhi’s statements in his habeas
petition. Mr. Oriakhi arrived in the United States in 1980 on a student visa. In 1990, Mr. Oriakhi
was sentenced in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland to a thirty-year
sentence for a drug conspiracy. According to Mr. Oriakhi, on March 13, 2003, “Immigration and
Customs Enforcement (ICE) entered a non[-]contested final administrative order of removal
because of the petitioner’s drug conspiracy conviction, while still serving the prison sentence.”
(Dkt. No. 1 at p.2)
Upon release from his federal criminal sentence, Mr. Oriakhi was placed into
immigration detention on May 4, 2016. Mr. Oriakhi does not contest his immigration detention
in this action. Instead, he challenges how ICE will execute his removal to Nigeria. More
specifically, Mr. Oriakhi requests that this Court order ICE to not have agents escort him on his
return flight to Nigeria. Mr. Oriahki is concerned about the implied message that will be sent to
his home country of Nigeria with two federal officers accompanying him on his return flight.
According to Mr. Oriakhi, “Nigerian authorities ha[ve] been placing every escorted deported
prisoner in prison.” (Dkt. No. I at p.3)
Mr. Oriakhi requests habeas and/or mandamus relief from this Court to prevent iCE from
providing an escort service on his removal flight to Nigeria. Additionally, Mr. Oriakhi has also
filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent his removal from this Court’s jurisdiction
until such time as this action is decided.
LEGAL STANDARD: SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL
With respect to screening the instant petition, 28 U.S.C.
provides in relevant part:
A court, justice or judge entertaining an application for a writ of
habeas corpus shall forthwith award the writ or issue an order
directing the respondent to show cause why the writ should not be
granted, unless it appears from the application that the applicant or
person detained is not entitled thereto.
“[A] district court is authorized to dismiss a [habeas] petition summarily when it plainly appears
from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to
relief in the district court
[.J” Lonchar v.
Thomas, 517 U.S. 314, 320 (1996).
As this Court has noted:
Section 1252(g), as amended by the REAL ID Act, Pub L. No.
109—13, 119 Stat. 231 (2005), explicitly bars judicial review by
district courts of three classes of actions and decisions committed
to the Government’s discretion: “the ‘decision or action to
commence proceedings, adjudicate cases, or execute removal
orders.” Chehazeh i’. Attorney General, 666 F.3d 118, 134 (3d
Cir.2012) (quoting Reno v. American Anti—Arab Discrimination
Committee, 525 U.S. 471, 482 (1999). Specifically, Section
1252(g), entitled “Exclusive jurisdiction,” provides that:
Except as provided in this section and
notwithstanding any other provision of law
(statutory or nonstatutory), including section 2241
of title 28, United States Code, or any other habeas
corpus provision, and sections 1361 [pertaining to
district court jurisdiction over mandamus actions]
and 1651 [pertaining to authority of district courts
to issue writs] of such title, no court shall have
jurisdiction to hear any cause or claim by or on
behalf of any alien arising from the decision or
action by the Attorney General to commence
proceedings, adjudicate cases, or execute removal
orders against any alien under this Act.
Tasci v. Tsoukaris, No. 13-2438, 2013 WL 2146901, at *3 (D.N.J. May 14, 2013).
To the extent that Mr. Oriakhi seeks habeas relief in this action, this Court lacks
jurisdiction to consider his request for relief Mr. Oriakhi is seeking relief as to how his removal
will be executed by immigration authorities. Indeed, he challenges the predicted presence of
federal officers on his return flight to his home country of Nigeria. By its very nature, therefore,
Mr. Oriakhi is challenging how the government will execute his removal—one of the three
categories of discretionary government actions as to which review is explicitly barred by the
REAL ID Act. As detailed above, this Court lacks jurisdiction to consider such a challenge by
Mr. Oriakhi. Therefore, his request for habeas relief will be summarily dismissed.
Mr. Oriakhi also seeks mandamus relief by requesting that no escort accompany him on
his flight back to Nigeria. Under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1361, a district court has “jurisdiction over a
mandamus action to compel an employee of the United States to perform a duty owed to the
plaintiff.” Taylor v. Hayman, 435 F. App’x 62, 63 (3d
Cir. 2011). In this case, Mr. Oriakhi fails
to identify the source of any duty to refrain from accompanying him on his flight back to
C. Preliminary Injunction
Mr. Oriakhi has also filed an application for a preliminary injunction. He complains that
respondent attempted to:
circumvent this court by attempting to place the alien detainee on
board a cha[r]t[erjed flight to Nigeria, from Miami International
[Ajirport in Florida. This attempt occurred by transporting the
alien detainee across state lines out of this jurisdiction between
June 13, 2016 through July 6, 2016, while the writ of mandamus
and or prohibition is still pending before the court.
(Dkt. No. 8 at p.2) According to Mr. Oriakhi, he was not transported back to Nigeria at that time
because of an inability to obtain a travel document from the Nigerian embassy. (See id.) Mr.
Oriakhi seeks a preliminary injunction to prevent his removal from New Jersey while this action
A preliminary injunction requires that a plaintiff demonstrate that (I) he is likely to
succeed on the merits; (2) denial will result in irreparable harm to the plaintiff; (3) granting the
injunction will not result in irreparable harm to the defendant; and (4) granting the injunction is
in the public interest. See Maldonado v. Houston, 157 F.3d 179, 184 (3d Cir. 1988). In this case,
as outlined above, Mr. Oriakhi’s request for habeas and mandamus relief will be denied. Thus,
he is not entitled to a preliminary injunction because he has not shown a likelihood of success on
For the foregoing reasons, Mr. Oriakhi’s habeas petition will be summarily dismissed as
will his request for mandamus relief Because he cannot demonstrate any likelihood of success
on the merits, his application for a preliminary injunction is denied as well.
DATED: December 21, 2016
United States District Judge
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