835 F.3d 422 (3rd Cir. 2016), 16-1339, Castro v. United States Department of Homeland Security

Docket Nº:16-1339
Citation:835 F.3d 422
Opinion Judge:SMITH, Circuit Judge.
Attorney:Lee P. Gelernt, American Civil Liberties Union, Immigrants' Rights Project, New York, NY; Jennifer C. Newell, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, San Francisco, CA; Mary Catherine Roper, Molly M. Tack-Hooper, American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Witold J. Walcz...
Judge Panel:Before: SMITH, HARDIMAN, and SHWARTZ, Circuit Judges. HARDIMAN, Circuit Judge, concurring dubitante. HARDIMAN, Circuit Judge, concurring dubitante.
Case Date:August 29, 2016
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

The petitioners, 28 women and their minor children, are citizens of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. The entered the U.S. in 2015 and were apprehended close to the border. Each indicated a fear of persecution if returned to their native country, claiming that they had been or feared becoming victims of domestic or gang violence. Following interviews with an asylum officer and review by an... (see full summary)


Page 422

835 F.3d 422 (3rd Cir. 2016)

Rosa Elida Castro; A.A.G.C.; Laura Lisseth Flores-Pichinte; E.S.U.F.; Karen Margarita Zelaya Alberto; S.E.A.Z; Kelly Gutierrez Rubio; G.J.S.G.; Gladis Carrasco Gomez; B.J.R.C.; Wendy Amparo Osorio Martinez; D.S.R.O.; Carmen Leiva-Menjivar; E.A.M.L.; A.M.M.L.; Dina Isabel Huezo De Chicas; L.J.C.H.; Cindy Gisela Lopez Funez; W.S.M.L.; Lesly Grizelda Cruz Matamoros; C.N.V.C.; Jeydi Erazo Anduray; D.A.L.E.; Dinora Lemus; A.R.M.L.; Jennys Mendez Debonilla; A.B.B.M.; Marta Alicia Rodriguez Romero; W.A.M.R.; C.A.M.R.; Roxana Aguirre-Lemus; C.A.A.; Celia Patricia Soriano Bran; J.A.A.S.; Maria Delmi Martinez Nolasco; J.E.L.M.; Guadalupe Flores Flores; W.J.B.F.; Carmen Aleyda Lobo Mejia; A.D.M.L.L.; Julissa Clementina Hernandez Jiminez; A.H.V.H.; *Maria Erlinda Mejia Melgar; *E.N.C.M.; *D.G.C.M.; Jethzabel Martiza Aguilar Manica; V.G.R.A.; Heymi Lissamancia Arevalo-Monterroza; R.N.F.A; Elsa Milagros Rodriguez Garcia; J.M.V.G.; Elizabeth Benitez De Marquez; A.M.B.; Ingrid Maricela Elias Soriano; A.E.C.E.; Maribel Maria Escobar Ramirez; C.Y.L.E.; Y.I.L.E.; R.J.L.E.; Ana Maricel Rodriguez-Granados; J.A.B.R.; V.E.B.R.; Zulma Lorena Portillo De Diaz; K.L.D.P., Appellants


United States Department of Homeland Security; United States Customs and Border Protection; United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Secretary of DHS; Attorney General of the United States; Commissioner of CBP; Director of USCIS; Philadelphia Field Director, CBP; Philadelphia Assistant Field Office Director, ICE; Director, Berks County Residential Center

* Dismissed Pursuant to Court's Order entered May 13, 2016.

No. 16-1339

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

August 29, 2016

Argued May 19, 2016

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, District Court Nos. 5-15-cv-06153, 5-15-cv-06403, 5-15-cv-06404, 5-15-cv-06406, 5-15-cv-06410, 5-15-cv-06411, 5-15-cv-06428, 5-15-cv-06429, 5-15-cv-06430, 5-15-cv-06431, 5-15-cv-06451, 5-15-cv-06472, 5-15-cv-06474, 5-15-cv-06475, 5-15-cv-06546, 5-15-cv-06547, 5-15-cv-06551, 5-15-cv-06553, 5-15-cv-06591, 5-15-cv-06592, 5-15-cv-06594, 5-15-cv-06595, 5-15-cv-06676, 5-15-cv-06677, 5-15-cv-06755, 5-15-cv-06788, 5-15-cv-06798, 5-15-cv-06863, 5-16-cv-00069, District Judge: The Honorable Paul S. Diamond

Lee P. Gelernt [ARGUED], Jennifer C. Newell, Mary Catherine Roper, Molly M. Tack-Hooper, Witold J. Walczak, Counsel for Appellants

Joseph A. Darrow, Erez Reuveni [ARGUED], Counsel for Appellees

Ethan D. Dettmer, Gibson Dunn, Counsel for Amici Curiae Gabriel J.Chin, Nancy Morawetz, Hiroshi Motomura, David Thronson, Leti Volpp, and Stephen Yale-Loehr

Jonathan H. Feinberg, Kairys Rudovsky Messing & Feinberg, Mark C. Fleming, WilmerHale, Counsel for Amici Curiae Erwin Chermerinsky, Eric M. Freedman, Brandon L. Garrett, Jonathan L. Hafetz, Paul D. Halliday, Randy A. Hertz, Aziz Huq, Lee Kovarsky, Christopher N. Lasch, James S. Liebman, Gerald L. Neuman, Kermit Roosevelt, Theodore W. Ruger, Stephen I. Vladeck, and Michael J. Wishnie

Bruce P. Merenstein, Nancy Winkelman, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, Counsel for Amici Curiae Tahirih Justice Center, David B. Thronson, Young Center for, Immigrant Childrens Rights, Sheila I. Velez-Martinez, Shoba S. Wadhia, Maureen A. Sweeney, Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic, American Friends Service, Farrin R. Anello, Jon Bauer, Lenni Benson, Linda Bosniak, Benjamin Casper, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Denise Gilman, Joanne Gottesman, Geoffrey A. Hoffman, KIND, Inc., National Immigrant Justice, Center (NIJC), Sarah H. Paoletti, Michele R. Pistone, Galya Ruffer, and Rebecca A. Sharpless

Charles Roth, National Immigrant Justice Center, Counsel for Amicus Curiae National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC)

Before: SMITH, HARDIMAN, and SHWARTZ, Circuit Judges


SMITH, Circuit Judge.

Petitioners are twenty-eight families— twenty-eight women and their minor children— who filed habeas petitions in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to prevent, or at least postpone, their expedited removal from this country. They were ordered expeditiously removed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pursuant to its authority under § 235(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(1). Before DHS could effect their removal, however, each petitioning family indicated a fear of persecution if returned to their native country. Nevertheless, following interviews with an asylum officer and subsequent de novo review by an immigration judge (IJ), Petitioners’ fear of persecution was found to be not credible, such that their expedited removal orders became administratively final. Each family then filed a habeas petition challenging various issues relating to their removal orders.

In this appeal we must determine, first, whether the District Court has jurisdiction to adjudicate the merits of Petitioners’ habeas petitions under § 242 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. § 1252. 1 Because we hold that the District Court does not have jurisdiction under the statute, we must also determine whether the statute violates the Suspension Clause of the United States Constitution. This is a very difficult question that neither this Court nor the Supreme Court has addressed. We hold that, at least as applied to Petitioners and other similarly situated aliens, § 1252 does not violate the Suspension Clause. Consequently, we will affirm the District Court’s order dismissing Petitioners’ habeas petitions for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.


The statutory and regulatory provisions of the expedited removal regime are at the heart of this case. We will, therefore, provide an overview of the provisions which form the framework governing expedited removal before further introducing Petitioners and their specific claims. First, we will discuss 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(1) and its implementing regulations, which lay out the administrative side of the expedited removal regime. We will then turn to 8 U.S.C. § 1252, which specifies the scope of judicial review of all removal orders, including expedited removal orders.

A. Section 1225(b)(1)

Under 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(1) and its companion regulations, two classes of aliens are subject to expedited removal if an immigration officer determines they are inadmissible due to misrepresentation or lack of immigration papers: (1) aliens “ arriving in the United States,” and (2) aliens “ encountered within 14 days of entry without inspection and within 100 air miles of any U.S. international land border.” 2 See 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(1)(A)(i) & (iii); Designating Aliens for Expedited Removal, 69 Fed Reg. 48877-01 (Aug. 11, 2004). 3 If an alien falls into one of these two classes, and she indicates to the immigration officer that she fears persecution or torture if returned to her country, the officer “ shall refer the alien for an interview by an asylum officer” to determine if she “ has a credible fear of persecution [or torture].” 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(1)(A)(ii) & (B)(ii); 8 C.F.R. § 208.30(d). The statute defines the term “ credible fear of persecution” as “ a significant possibility, taking into account the credibility of the statements made by the alien in support of the alien’s claim and such other facts as are known to the officer, that the alien could establish eligibility for asylum under section 1158 of this title.” 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(1)(B)(v); see also 8 C.F.R. § 208.30(e)(3) (“ An alien will be found to have a credible fear of torture if the alien shows that there is a significant possibility that he or she is eligible for withholding of removal or deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture.” ).

Should the interviewing asylum officer determine that the alien lacks a credible fear of persecution (i.e., if the officer makes a “ negative credible fear determination” ), the officer orders the removal of the alien “ without further hearing or review,” except by an IJ as discussed below. 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(1)(B)(iii)(I). The officer is then required to “ prepare a written record” that must include “ a summary of the material facts as stated by the applicant, such additional facts (if any) relied upon by the officer, and the officer’s analysis of why, in the light of such facts, the alien has not established a credible fear of persecution.” Id. § 1225(b)(1)(B)(iii)(II). Next, the asylum officer’s supervisor reviews and approves the negative credible fear determination, after which the order of removal becomes “ final.” 8 C.F.R. § 235.3(b)(7); id. § 208.30(e)(7). Nevertheless, if the alien so requests, she is entitled to have an IJ conduct a de novo review of the officer’s negative credible fear determination, and “ to be heard and questioned by the [IJ]” as part of this review. 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(1)(B)(iii)(III); 8 C.F.R. § 1003.42(d). Assuming the...

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