United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
D. MARIANL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Henry Pratt ("Petitioner"), a detainee of the
United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement
("ICE"), currently confined in the York County
Prison, York, Pennsylvania, filed the instant petition for
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.
(Doc. 1). Petitioner challenges his mandatory detention by
ICE pursuant to § 236(c) of the Immigration and
Nationality Act ("INA") pending the outcome of
removal proceedings. (Id.). For relief, Petitioner
requests a bond hearing. (Id. at p. 8). For the
reasons set forth below, the Court will grant a writ of
habeas corpus directing an Immigration Judge to conduct a
bond hearing to determine if Petitioner is a flight risk or
danger to the community.
a native and citizen of Liberia, entered the United States on
August 25, 1997, as a non-immigrant visitor. (Doc. 5-1, p 8,
Record of Deportable/ Inadmissible Alien). On June 16, 2009,
his status was adjusted to lawful permanent resident. (Doc.
5-1, p. 5, Notice to Appear).
November 20, 2015, Petitioner was convicted of forgery and
access device fraud. (Doc. 5-1, p. 5, Notice to Appear; Doc.
5-1, pp. 7-11, Record of Deportable/ Inadmissible Alien).
11, 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration
Services' ("USCIS") Fraud Detection and
National Security unit denied Petitioner's application
for naturalization. (Doc. 5-1, pp. 3-4, Record of Deportable/
Inadmissible Alien). The USCIS then referred Petitioner's
case to the Philadelphia ICE Office of Enforcement and
Removal Operations. (Id.).
February 13, 2017, immigration officials issued a Warrant for
Arrest of Alien for| Petitioner and served a Notice to Appear
charging him as removable from the United States[ pursuant to
section 237(a)(2)(A)(ii) of the INA for his convictions of
two crimes involving moral turpitude not arising out of a
single scheme of criminal misconduct. (Doc. 5-1, pp. 3- 5,
Notice to Appear; Doc. 5-1, p. 11, Record of Deportable/
Inadmissible Alien; Doc. 5-1, p.j 13, Warrant for Arrest of
Alien). On February 13, 2017, Petitioner was taken into ICE[
custody. (Doc. 5-1, p. 13, Warrant for Arrest of Alien; Doc.
5-1, p. 17, Notice of Custody Determination). A deportation
officer determined that Petitioner would be detained by
the\ Department of Homeland Security pending a final
administrative decision in his case. (Doc.| j 5-1, p. 17,
Notice of Custody Determination). Petitioner requested review
of his custody determination by an Immigration Judge.
February 28, 2017, an Immigration Judge denied
Petitioner's request for a change in custody status,
noting that he is subject to mandatory detention pursuant to
§ 236(c) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c), based on
his convictions of two crimes involving (moral turpitude.
(Doc. 5-1, pp. 18-19, Decision and Order; Doc. 5-1, pp.
20-21, Order of the Immigration Judge with Respect to
Custody). On June 13, 2017, the Board of Immigration Appeals
affirmed the Immigration Judge's February 28, 2017
decision. (Doc. 5-1, pp. 22- [ 25, BIA Decision).
Court has jurisdiction over Petitioner's habeas petition
and his claims challenging his prolonged pre-final order
detention by ICE at the York County Prison as illegal and
unconstitutional. See Leslie v. Attorney General of
U.S., 363 Fed.Appx. 955, 957, n.1 (3d Cir. 2010)
(per curiam) (citation omitted). In considering the
petition for writ of habeas corpus, the Court notes that
Petitioner is not subject to a final order of removal, as the
immigration proceedings remain pending. Thus, this Court is
forced to address whether [ Petitioner is entitled to habeas
relief in the nature of his release from the York County
Prison pending the outcome of his immigration proceedings, or
to order a bond hearing.
Petitioner's conviction, there did exist a clear legal
basis for ICE to detain him pending the outcome of removal
proceedings. See Diop v. ICE, 656 F.3d 221, 230 (3d
Cir. 2011). Pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c), the Attorney
General must take into custody any alien who "is
exportable by reason of having committed any offense covered
in section 1227(a)(2)(A)(ii), (A)(iii), (B), (C), or (D) of
this title." 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c)(1)(B). However, [ i
this "mandatory detention" provision has limits.
See Diop v. ICE/Homeland Security, 656j F.3d 221,
232 (3d Cir. 2011). The Courts have cautioned that the
constitutionality of detention is, at least to some extent, a
function of the length of detention. Id. Although}
mandatory detention for some classes of aliens under §
1226(c) is constitutional, Justice Kennedy's concurring
opinion in Demore v. Kim, et a/., 538 U.S. 510, 532
(2003), emphasizes that continued detention can become
unconstitutional unless the government justifies its actions
at a hearing designed to ascertain whether continued
detention of the alien is necessary to achieve the law's
stated purposes of preventing flight and minimizing potential
dangers to the community. Diop, 656 F.3d at 233.
Where detention has become unreasonable, "the Due
Process Clause demands a hearing, at which the Government|
bears the burden of proving that continued detention is
necessary to fulfill the purposes ofj the detention
Chavez-Alvarez v. Warden York County Prison, 783
F.3d 469 (3d Cir. 2015), the Third Circuit further examined
excessive detention claims under § 1226(c). The Thirdj i
Circuit held that in cases where a petitioner brings a good
faith challenge to his or her removal from the United States:
beginning sometime after the six-month time frame considered
by Demore, I and certainly by the time [the alien]
had been detained for one year, the| burdens to [the
petitioner's] liberties outweigh[ ] any justification for
using presumptions to detain him without bond to further the
goals of the statute.... [T]he underlying goals of the
statute would not have been, and will not now to be
undermined by requiring the Government to produce
individualized\ evidence that [the petitioner's]
continued detention was or is necessary.