Haitian Refugee Center, Inc. v. Baker, Nos. 91-6099

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore TJOFLAT, Chief Judge, HATCHETT and COX; PER CURIAM; HATCHETT
Citation953 F.2d 1498
PartiesHAITIAN REFUGEE CENTER, INC., et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. James BAKER, III, Secretary of State, Robert Kramek, Rear Admiral, Kime, Admiral, Commandant, United States Coast Guard, Gene McNary, Commissioner, Immigration and Naturalization Service, United States Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service, United States of America, Defendants-Appellants. HAITIAN REFUGEE CENTER, INC., a not-for-profit corporation, Roland Providence, Moise Charles, Eric Pierre, Raymond Edme, Golbert Miracle, Roland Jean, Roosevelt Alexis, Luc Luxembourg Sanon, Leger Pierre Frantz, Ochel Engerril, Jean Michel Mario Avilus, Archille Belvu, Lucien Rozier, Emmanuel Saintil and Condanser Joseph, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellees, Cross-Appellants, v. James BAKER, III, Secretary of State, Rear Admiral Robert Kramek and Admiral Kime, Commandants, United States Coast Guard, Gene McNary, Commissioner, Immigration and Naturalization Service, United States Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service, and United States of America, Defendants-Appellants, Cross-Appellees.
Decision Date04 February 1992
Docket NumberNos. 91-6099,91-6105 and 91-6118

Page 1498

953 F.2d 1498
HAITIAN REFUGEE CENTER, INC., et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
James BAKER, III, Secretary of State, Robert Kramek, Rear
Admiral, Kime, Admiral, Commandant, United States Coast
Guard, Gene McNary, Commissioner, Immigration and
Naturalization Service, United States Department of Justice,
Immigration and Naturalization Service, United States of
America, Defendants-Appellants.
HAITIAN REFUGEE CENTER, INC., a not-for-profit corporation,
Roland Providence, Moise Charles, Eric Pierre, Raymond Edme,
Golbert Miracle, Roland Jean, Roosevelt Alexis, Luc
Luxembourg Sanon, Leger Pierre Frantz, Ochel Engerril, Jean
Michel Mario Avilus, Archille Belvu, Lucien Rozier, Emmanuel
Saintil and Condanser Joseph, on behalf of themselves and
all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellees, Cross-Appellants,
v.
James BAKER, III, Secretary of State, Rear Admiral Robert
Kramek and Admiral Kime, Commandants, United States Coast
Guard, Gene McNary, Commissioner, Immigration and
Naturalization Service, United States Department of Justice,
Immigration and Naturalization Service, and United States of
America, Defendants-Appellants, Cross-Appellees.
Nos. 91-6099, 91-6105 and 91-6118.
United States Court of Appeals,
Eleventh Circuit.
Feb. 4, 1992.
Certiorari Denied Feb. 24, 1992.
See 112 S.Ct. 1245.

Page 1500

John F. Daly, Michael Jay Singer, Kenneth W. Starr, Edward T. Swaine, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Appellate Staff, Civil Div., Washington, D.C., for defendants-appellants.

Ira Kurzban, Kurzban, Kurzban & Weinger, Miami, Fla., Bruce Winick, University of Miami, School of Law, Coral Gables, Fla., for plaintiffs-appellees.

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Before TJOFLAT, Chief Judge, HATCHETT and COX, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM:

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

In 1981, President Ronald Reagan determined that the uncontrolled immigration of visaless aliens was a "serious national problem detrimental to the interests of the United States." Proclamation No. 4865, 46 Fed.Reg. 48,107 (1981), reprinted in 8 U.S.C.A. § 1182 note (1982). As a result of this determination, President Reagan issued an Executive Order directing the Secretary of State to enter "cooperative arrangements with appropriate foreign governments for the purpose of preventing illegal immigration to the United States by sea." Exec.Order No. 12324, 46 Fed.Reg. 48,109, 48,210 (1981), reprinted in 8 U.S.C.A. § 1182 note (Executive Order). The Executive Order required the Secretary of Transportation to instruct the Coast Guard to enforce "the suspension of the entry of undocumented aliens and the interdiction of any defined vessels carrying such aliens." Id. at § 2(a). Among the "defined" vessels to be interdicted by the Coast Guard were vessels of foreign nations that had entered into agreements with the United States authorizing the United States to stop and board their vessels. Id. at § 2(b)(3).

The instructions given the Coast Guard were to include appropriate directives for it to stop and board defined vessels when there was reason to believe that such vessels were engaged in the irregular transportation of people or that the laws of the United States or the agreeing nation were being violated. Further, the Coast Guard was to determine the destination and status of those on board and to return the vessel to the country from which it came when there was reason to believe that the immigration laws of the United States or the foreign country were being violated. Finally, the Coast Guard was to be instructed not to return a "refugee" without his consent. Id. at § 2(c). These actions by the Coast Guard were authorized to be taken only outside the territorial waters of the United States. Id. at § 2(d).

Also pursuant to the Executive Order, the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Transportation, was to take steps necessary to "ensure the fair enforcement of our laws relating to immigration (including effective implementation of the Executive Order) and the strict observance of our international obligations concerning those who genuinely flee persecution in their homeland." Id. at § 3.

Page 1501

In compliance with the Executive Order, the Secretary of State entered into an agreement with the Haitian government under which the United States was authorized to interdict and board Haitian flagged vessels suspected of carrying illegal immigrants. T.I.A.S. No. 10,241. Under the agreement, it was understood that the United States would not return immigrants whom immigration officials determined to qualify for refugee status. Id. Also, Haiti agreed that any immigrants returned to Haiti would not be prosecuted for illegal departure. Id.

An "international obligation" to which the Executive Order refers and that is at issue in this case is the 1967 United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (Protocol). Article 33 of the Protocol provides in part as follows:

1. No Contracting State shall expel or return ("refouler") a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

The term "refugee" as defined in the Protocol and incorporated in 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(A) means:

[A]ny person who is outside any country of such person's nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, is outside any country in which such person last habitually resided, and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion,....

Pursuant to the Executive Order, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) promulgated guidelines to be followed by INS employees assigned to the interdiction program. The Guidelines read as follows:

INS ROLE AND GUIDELINES FOR INTERDICTION AT SEA

The following directives are to be followed by INS employees assigned to Coast Guard vessels interdicting vessels at sea pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 4865, dated September 29, 1981, and Executive Order Number 12324, dated September 29, 1981.

GENERAL

* Due to the sensitive nature of this assignment, all INS employees will be under the direct supervision of INS Central Office Headquarters, Associate Commissioner, Examinations.

* The only function INS officers are responsible for is to ensure that the United States is in compliance with its obligations regarding actions toward refugees, including the necessity of being keenly attuned during any interdiction program to any evidence which may reflect an individual's well-founded fear of persecution by his or her country of origin for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership within a particular social group or political opinion.

* The duties of INS employees assigned to United States Coast Guard vessels will be limited to matters related to the interview of persons on board with respect to documentation relating to entry to the United States and possible evidence of refugee status.

* Except for independent determinations with respect to documentation relating to entry into the United States and possible claims to refugee status, INS officers will be subject to maritime directives and rules made by the Commanding Officer of the United States Coast Guard vessel.

* * * * * *

BOARDING OF VESSELS

* All decisions relating to which vessels will be interdicted and in what manner vessels will be boarded will be made at the discretion of the Commanding Officer of the United States Coast Guard vessel.

* INS officers and interpreters will be members of each boarding party. INS employees will not be armed.

Page 1502

* All initial announcements to the master, crew, and passengers of a boarded vessel as to the purpose of boarding, separation of crew and passengers, and general procedures (including advice that the boarded vessel may be returned to Haiti) will be made by United States Coast Guard personnel at the time the vessel is first boarded.

INS OFFICER RESPONSIBILITIES

A. To the extent that it is, within the opinion of the Commanding Officer of the United States Coast Guard vessel, safe and practicable, each person aboard an interdicted vessel shall be spoken to by an INS officer, through an interpreter. A log record shall be maintained of each such person, based on their responses to the following inquiries:

1. Name;

2. Date of Birth;

3. Nationality;

4. Home Town (obtain sufficient information to enable a later location of the individual to check on possible persecution);

5. All Documents or Evidence Presented;

6. Why did you leave Haiti;

7. Why do you wish to go to the United States;

8. Is there any reason why you cannot return to Haiti?

B. A copy of the log prepared by the INS officers shall be provided to the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard vessel.

C. INS officers shall be constantly watchful for any indication (including bare claims) that a person or persons on board the interdicted vessel may qualify as refugees under the United Nations Convention and Protocol.

D. If there is any indication of possible qualification for refugee status by a person or persons on board an interdicted vessel, INS officers shall conduct individual interviews regarding such possible qualification.

E. Interviews regarding possible refugee status shall be conducted out of the hearing of other persons.

F. If necessary, INS officers will consult with Department of State officials, either on board, or via radio communications.

G. Individual records shall be made of all interviews regarding possible qualification for refugee status.

H. If the interview suggests that a legitimate claim to refugee status exists,...

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52 practice notes
  • Immigration; removal orders; countries to which aliens may be removed,
    • United States
    • Federal Register January 05, 2005
    • January 5, 2005
    ...instructions provide guidance to its employees and do not have the force and effect of law. See, e.g., Haitian Refugee Center v. Baker, 953 F.2d 1498, 1512 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 1122 (1992); Perales v. Casillas, 903 F.2d 1043, 1051 (5th Cir. 1990) (quoting Dong Sik Kwon v. INS......
  • Jane Doe 1 v. Nielsen, Case No. 18-cv-02349-BLF
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • July 10, 2018
    ...to preclude judicial review at the behest of aliens beyond the borders of the United States." Haitian Refugee Ctr., Inc. v. Baker , 953 F.2d 1498, 1506 (11th Cir. 1992). The promulgated regulations similarly do not provide for any formal appeal of a refugee status determination. See 8 C.F.R......
  • Romero v. Consulate of US, Barranquilla, Colombia, Civ.A. No. 94-185-A
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • August 12, 1994
    ...nonreviewability and "would be inconsistent" with the language and spirit of both the INA and APA. Haitian Refugee Ctr. v. Baker, 953 F.2d 1498, 1507 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 112 S.Ct. 1245, 117 L.Ed.2d 477 (1992).12 it is well-grounded in established principles of national ......
  • Conservancy of Southwest Florida v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., No. 11–11915.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • April 18, 2012
    ...any regulation provided any standard that limited the Board's discretion. Id. at 1293–94. And in Haitian Refugee Center, Inc. v. Baker, 953 F.2d 1498 (11th Cir.1992) (per curiam), we held that the Immigration and Naturalization Service's procedures for identifying refugees were not subject ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
51 cases
  • Jane Doe 1 v. Nielsen, Case No. 18-cv-02349-BLF
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • July 10, 2018
    ...to preclude judicial review at the behest of aliens beyond the borders of the United States." Haitian Refugee Ctr., Inc. v. Baker , 953 F.2d 1498, 1506 (11th Cir. 1992). The promulgated regulations similarly do not provide for any formal appeal of a refugee status determination. See 8 C.F.R......
  • Romero v. Consulate of US, Barranquilla, Colombia, Civ.A. No. 94-185-A
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • August 12, 1994
    ...nonreviewability and "would be inconsistent" with the language and spirit of both the INA and APA. Haitian Refugee Ctr. v. Baker, 953 F.2d 1498, 1507 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 112 S.Ct. 1245, 117 L.Ed.2d 477 (1992).12 it is well-grounded in established principles of national ......
  • Conservancy of Southwest Florida v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., No. 11–11915.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • April 18, 2012
    ...any regulation provided any standard that limited the Board's discretion. Id. at 1293–94. And in Haitian Refugee Center, Inc. v. Baker, 953 F.2d 1498 (11th Cir.1992) (per curiam), we held that the Immigration and Naturalization Service's procedures for identifying refugees were not subject ......
  • Haitian Centers Council, Inc. v. McNary, No. 2023
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • July 29, 1992
    ...and are thus bound under principles of collateral estoppel by the eleventh circuit's holding in Haitian Refugee Center, Inc. v. Baker, 953 F.2d 1498 (11th Cir.) (per curiam ) (HRC v. Baker ), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 112 S.Ct. 1245, 117 L.Ed.2d 477 (1992); and (2) that the executive ord......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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