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Akinsehinwa v. Donate

July 30, 2008

CHRISTOPHER AKINSEHINWA, PETITIONER
v.
JANINE DONATE, RESPONDENT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sylvia H. Rambo United States District Judge

(Judge Rambo)

MEMORANDUM

Christopher Akinsehinwa ("Akinsehinwa"), presently a detainee of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") and incarcerated at the York County Prison in York, Pennsylvania, filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 on March 4, 2008, seeking release from continued indefinite detention pending removal from the United States. For the reasons that follow, Akinsehinwa's petition will be denied.

I. Background

Akinsehinwa, a native and citizen of Nigeria, entered the United States on or about January 21, 1979, as a B-2 visitor. (Doc. 8-2 at 2.) On April 14, 1986, Akinsehinwa was granted lawful permanent resident status under § 245(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the "Act"), 8 U.S.C. § 1255(a), as amended.

Since Akinsehinwa's entry into the United States, he has committed a number of crimes, ranging from theft, assault and battery, to armed carjacking and kidnapping. (See Doc. 8-2 at 3.) In particular, on July 21, 1988, Akinsehinwa was convicted of obtaining money by false pretenses in the Circuit Court for Alexandria, Virginia, and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of one (1) year. (Doc. 1 at 5.) On January 1, 1991, Akinsehinwa was convicted of theft of under $300.00 in the Circuit Court for Prince Georges County, Maryland, and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 181 days. (Id. at 5-6.)

Based on these convictions, on April 9, 1991, ICE issued an order to show cause charging Akinsehinwa with having violated §§ 241(a)(2)(A)(i) and 241(a)(2)(A)(ii) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1227, as amended, because he was convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude within five (5) years after entry, and sentenced to a term of imprisonment for a year or more. (Id. at 29.) An immigration judge ("IJ") conducted a deportation hearing, and Akinsehinwa was ordered removed to Nigeria based on the stated violations of the Act on October 4, 1991. (Id. at 29-30.) Subsequent to the removal order, Akinsehinwa moved to reopen his case based on ineffective assistance of counsel. (Id. at 30.) The IJ denied the motion, and Akinsehinwa's timely appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA") was dismissed on April 2, 1993. (Id. at 28-31.) On May 21, 1993, ICE released Akinsehinwa under an order of supervision. (Id. at 33.)

On April 4, 2000, Akinsehinwa was convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon in the Circuit Court for the City of Baltimore, Maryland, and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of ten (10) years. (Id. at 6.) On February 28, 2005, he completed his state sentence and was immediately transferred into ICE custody. (Doc. 8-2 at 11.)

Akinsehinwa was scheduled to be on a repatriation flight departing for Nigeria on April 14, 2005. (Id.) However, prior to the flight, Akinsehinwa informed the Nigerian Consulate that he is not a citizen of Nigeria; he is a citizen of Ghana. (Id.) He explained to the Consulate that he was raised in Nigeria, but did not have a birth certificate.*fn1 Akinsehinwa believed he was a Nigerian citizen born to the Akinsehinwa's until September 1997, at which time a friend of his mother's from Nigeria informed him that the Akinsehinwa's were not his natural parents. (Doc. 1 at 7.) She told him that in fact he was not born in Nigeria, but rather was born in Ghana to a Ghanian prostitute who died when Akinsehinwa was seven years old. (Id.) Since his biological father was unknown, the Akinsehinwa's adopted him. (Id.) After providing this information to the Nigerian Consulate, Akinsehinwa was denied issuance of a travel document for his removal to Nigeria and the flight was cancelled. (Id.)

On June 1, 2005, Akinsehinwa sent a communication to the Nigerian Consulate requesting that the Consulate forward his application for travel documents to the Ghanian Consulate. (Id. at 40.) He did not contact the Ghanian Consulate directly. On June 30, 2005, ICE issued Akinsehinwa a "Warning for Failure to Depart" and "Instruction Sheet to Detainee Regarding Requirement to Assist in Removal." (Doc. 8-2 at 12.) Akinsehiwa was instructed to apply for a travel document for his removal from the United States. (Id.)

ICE scheduled Akinsehinwa for departure to Nigeria on a repatriation flight on August 31, 2005. (Id. at 13.) However, prior to the flight, the Nigerian Consulate again denied issuance of a travel document for Akinsehinwa after interviewing him. (Id. at 17.) Akinsehinwa had again informed the Nigerian Consulate that he was born in Ghana. (Id.)

On September 21, 2005, ICE issued a "Notice of Failure to Comply" pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 241.4(g)(5)(ii), explaining that Akinsehinwa's removal period was being extended and he will remain in ICE custody because he failed to make timely and good faith efforts to obtain travel documents. (Doc. 8-2 at 19-20.)

In August 2005, Akinsehinwa sought relief via a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. See Akinsehinwa v. Devenyns, No. WDQ-05-2366, 2005 WL 6049852 (D. Md. Oct. 13, 2005). The court denied the petition, noting that Akinsehinwa had refused to cooperate with the efforts to remove him to Nigeria and that he had failed to contact the Ghanian Consulate after having been informed to contact that Consulate directly with respect to issuance of travel documents. Id. at *2-3. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision on March 29, 2006. Akinsehinwa v. Devenyns, No. 05-7727, slip op. (4th Cir. Mar. 29, 2006).

On October 19, 2006, the Maryland District Court indicted Akinsehinwa under § 243(a)(1)(C) and § 237(a) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. §§ 1253(a)(1)(C), 1227(a), as amended, alleging that he "did connive, conspire, and take any action designed to prevent or hamper, or with the purpose of preventing or hampering, the alien's departure pursuant to such final order of removal." See United States v. Akinsehinwa, Crim. No. 1:06-CR-00474 (D. Md. Oct. 19, 2006) (Doc. 1 at 82-83). He was also charged with "knowingly and willfully ma[king] materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations, namely stating to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement deportation officers that he was not a citizen of Nigeria." ...


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