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Singh v. Barr

United States District Court, D. Arizona

November 21, 2019

Jashanbreet Singh, Petitioner,
William Barr, et al., Respondents.


          Michael T. Liburdi United Stales District Judge

         Petitioner Jashanbreet Singh, who is detained in the CoreCivic La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona, has filed, through counsel, a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 (Doc. 1) and a Motion for Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order (Doc. 2). The Court will issue a temporary stay of removal, call Respondents to answer the Petition and respond to the Motion for Preliminary Injunction, and deny the Motion for Temporary Restraining Order.

         I. Background

         Petitioner is a native and citizen of India. On July 25, 2019, he entered the United States without inspection near Calexico, California, and was encountered and taken into custody by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the same day. (Docs. 1-3, 1-4.) Petitioner was determined to be inadmissible to the United States and placed in expedited removal proceedings pursuant to Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) § 235(b)(1), 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(1). (Doc. 1-3.) Petitioner expressed a fear of persecution or torture if returned to India and was referred for a credible fear determination.

         On September 11, 2019, and September 18, 2019, Petitioner received telephonic credible fear interviews. (Docs. 1-5, 1-6.) An asylum officer found Petitioner was credible but that he had not established that he had a reasonable fear of persecution or torture if removed to India.[1] (Docs. 1-5, 1-7.) The asylum officer reasoned that Petitioner “could reasonably avoid persecution by relocating within [his] country, ” and Petitioner had “not established that there is a reasonable possibility that . . . [he] would suffer severe physical or mental pain or suffering.” (Doc. 1-7.) The determination was approved by a supervisory asylum officer, and on October 7, 2019, Petitioner was ordered removed from the United States. (Docs. 1-5, 1-7.) Petitioner requested review of the credible fear determination by an Immigration Judge (IJ), and a hearing was held on October 25, 2019. (Docs. 1 ¶ 21, 1-7, 1-8.) During the hearing, the IJ received “documents that were not given to Petitioner, ” including “Officer's Notes.” At the conclusion of the hearing, the IJ affirmed the asylum officer's credible fear determination. (Doc. 1 ¶ 21.)

         II. Petition

         In his Petition, Petitioner names United States Attorney General William Barr, former Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan, [2] Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) Director James McHenry, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Phoenix Field Office Director Enrique Lucero, and United States Immigration Judge Marni Guerrero as Respondents.[3] Petitioner asserts that the Court has habeas corpus jurisdiction to review his claims pursuant to the Ninth Circuit's decision in Thuraissigiam v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., 917 F.3d 1097 (9th Cir. 2019), cert. granted, No. 19-161 (Oct. 18, 2019).

         Petitioner brings two grounds for relief. In Grounds One and Two, Petitioner claims that his credible fear proceedings denied him a fair and meaningful opportunity to apply for relief in violation of the governing statute and implementing regulation, 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(1) and 8 C.F.R. § 208.30(d), and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Petitioner alleges DHS failed to employ the required non-adversarial procedures when conducting his credible fear interview, referred to reports that were not given to Petitioner to review, failed to consider binding case law, and failed to apply the correct legal standard when evaluating his credible fear claim. Petitioner further alleges that the IJ applied the wrong legal standard, denied him a reasonable opportunity to present his case, and took outside research into consideration that had not been provided to Petitioner.

         In his demand for relief, Petitioner asks the Court to: (1) determine that his expedited removal order violated his statutory, regulatory, and constitutional rights and, as a result, he is being detained in violation of the law; (2) vacate the expedited removal order; and (3) order that he “be provided a new, meaningful opportunity to apply for asylum and other relief from removal.” (Doc. 1 at 18.)

         The Court asks that Respondents Barr, Wolf, and Lucero answer the Petition.

         III. Motion for Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order

         A party seeking injunctive relief under Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure must show that: (1) he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of injunctive relief; (3) the balance of equities tips in his favor; and (4) an injunction is in the public interest.[4] Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008); Pom Wonderful LLC v. Hubbard, 775 F.3d 1118, 1124 (9th Cir. 2014); Pimentel v. Dreyfus, 670 F.3d 1096, 1105-06 (9th Cir. 2012); Stuhlbarg Int'l Sales Co., Inc. v. John D. Brush & Co., Inc., 240 F.3d 832, 839 n.7 (9th Cir. 2001). Where the movant seeks a mandatory injunction, rather than a prohibitory injunction, injunctive relief is “subject to a heightened scrutiny and should not be issued unless the facts and law clearly favor the moving party.” Dahl v. HEM Pharms. Corp., 7 F.3d 1399, 1403 (9th Cir. 1993).

         Unlike a preliminary injunction, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(a), a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) may be entered “without written or oral notice to the adverse party.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(b). A TRO may issue, ex parte, if: “(A) specific facts in an affidavit or a verified complaint clearly show that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to the movant before the adverse party can be heard in opposition; and (B) the movant's attorney certifies in writing any efforts made to give notice and the reasons why it should not be required.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(b) (emphasis added).

         Petitioner moves the Court to enjoin his continued detention or transfer, to order Respondents to provide him with an individualized asylum hearing, and to stay his removal from the United States while this action is pending. To the extent Petitioner seeks a new hearing on his asylum claims, release from custody, or to remain detained in Arizona, he has not demonstrated that he will suffer irreparable injury before Respondents can be heard in opposition. He therefore fails to meet his burden to demonstrate that he is entitled to immediate injunctive relief, and his Motion for Temporary Restraining Order will be denied. See Granny Goose Foods, Inc. v. Brotherhood of Teamsters & Auto Truck Drivers Local No. 70, 415 U.S. 423, 439 (1974) (consistent with the “stringent” restrictions of Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(b), a ...

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