Balde v. Duke

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ARACELY, R., et al., : : Plaintiffs, : Civil Action No.: 17-1976 (RC) : v. : Re Document Nos.: 38, 55, 61, 75, 79, : 89, 90 KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, : SECRETARY, UNITED STATES : DEPARTMENT OF : HOMELAND SECURITY, et al., : : Defendants. : MEMORANDUM OPINION DENYING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO TRANSFER VENUE; GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTIONS TO SUPPLEMENT THEIR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION APPLICATION AND EXHIBITS; AND GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION I. INTRODUCTION Every day, individuals fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries seek asylum within our borders. And every day, United States immigration officials must determine whether to admit these individuals or reject them. This case concerns what happens to these individuals while their requests for asylum are considered. Plaintiffs undertook perilous journeys to reach our borders, submitted asylum petitions, and were detained in what they claim to be prison-like conditions for an extended period of time while their petitions were evaluated. They contend that their detention without access to a bond hearing before an immigration judge violated their constitutional rights. They also contend that immigration officials routinely and systematically failed to abide by a binding, official agency directive governing parole determinations, and instead applied an unwritten, unconstitutional policy promulgated by top 1 policy makers. In the absence of this unwritten policy, Plaintiffs argue, they would have been conditionally paroled into the United States. Presently before the Court are two preliminary motions. First, Defendants seek to transfer this litigation’s venue from the District of Columbia to the Southern District of Texas. Second, Plaintiffs seek preliminary injunctive relief granting them bond hearings before immigration judges, and compelling Defendants to comply with the official directive and halt the alleged unwritten policy. For the reasons explained below, the Court denies Defendants’ motion, and grants Plaintiffs’ motion in part. II. BACKGROUND A. Statutory and Regulatory Framework This case concerns statutes and regulations within the scope of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”). See 8 U.S.C. § 1101 et seq. The INA sets forth the conditions under which a foreign national may be admitted to and remain in the United States, and it grants the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) the discretion to initiate removal proceedings. See, e.g., id. §§ 1181–1182, 1184, 1225, 1227–1229, 1306, 1324–25. Within DHS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) is the department that is primarily charged with administering the INA. See 6 U.S.C. §§ 111, 251, 291. The interactions relevant to this action involved ICE officials. Plaintiffs are “arriving aliens” from outside of the United States who surrendered to ICE at United States ports of entry, sought asylum (“POE asylum seekers”), and were detained pursuant to 8 U.S.C. §§ 1158(a)(1) and 1225(b). 1 Section 1225(b) provides that if a non-citizen 1 “Arriving alien means an applicant for admission coming or attempting to come into the United States at a port-of-entry, or an alien seeking transit through the United States at a port-of- 2 “who is arriving in ...

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Source: All recent Immigration Decisions In All the U.S. Courts of Appeals