Poghosyan v. Wolf, Case No. 5:20-CV-02295-ODW (AFM)

CourtUnited States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
Decision Date06 November 2020
PartiesRUBEN POGHOSYAN, Petitioner-Plaintiff, v. CHAD F. WOLF, et al., Respondents-Defendants.
Docket NumberCase No. 5:20-CV-02295-ODW (AFM)

RUBEN POGHOSYAN, Petitioner-Plaintiff,
CHAD F. WOLF, et al., Respondents-Defendants.

Case No. 5:20-CV-02295-ODW (AFM)

United States District Court Central District of California

November 6, 2020



On November 2, 2020, Petitioner Ruben Poghosyan filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus ("Petition") and a motion for a temporary restraining order and/or stay of removal ("TRO"). (Pet., ECF No. 1; TRO, ECF No. 2; Mem. TRO, ECF No. 2-1.) Poghosyan seeks a stay of removal until he has had the opportunity to be heard on his pending immigration appeal and motion to reopen. (TRO ¶ 11.) Respondents oppose the TRO. (Opp'n to TRO ("Opp'n") 1, ECF No. 13.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Poghosyan's TRO.


Poghosyan is a thirty-eight-year-old citizen of Armenia. (Pet. ¶ 16.) He has been diagnosed with recurrent and severe major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder." (Mem. TRO 18.) He left

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Armenia after suffering violence, illegal arrests, beatings, and death threats due to his political opinions and activities. (Pet. ¶ 42; Mem. TRO 29.) He arrived in the United States on August 29, 2019, at the San Ysidro, California, Port of Entry without a valid entry document and was detained by ICE. (Pet. ¶ 16.)

On March 2, 2020, Poghosyan presented claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture. (Id. ¶ 17.) The Immigration Judge ("IJ") "refused to hear [Poghosyan]'s claim for asylum" due to a then-existing ban against granting asylum to individuals who crossed through another country on the way to the United States without first requesting asylum in that country. (See id. ¶¶ 17, 30 (citing Interim Final Rule, Asylum Eligibility and Procedural Modifications, 84 Fed. Reg. 33,829 (July 16, 2019)).) The IJ also denied Poghosyan's claims for withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture and ordered him removed. (Id. ¶ 31.) Poghosyan's attorney at the time did not reserve Poghosyan's right to appeal the decision or raise any psychiatric or competency issues. (Id.; Mem. TRO 17-18.)

On April 3, 2020, ICE released Poghosyan from detention with GPS monitoring due to the global pandemic, Poghosyan's serious psychiatric conditions, and ICE's then-inability to remove him to Armenia. (Pet. ¶¶ 32-33.) Nevertheless, on May 11, 2020, ICE again detained Poghosyan. (Id. ¶ 34.) Poghosyan remains incarcerated at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center in Adelanto, California. (Id. ¶ 34.)

On May 12, 2020, Poghosyan filed a motion to reopen based on ineffective assistance of counsel. (See id. ¶ 35.) The IJ denied the motion, and Poghosyan filed an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA"), which remains pending. (Id. ¶¶ 36-37.) Poghosyan also moved the BIA to stay removal, but the BIA denied that motion on October 23, 2020. (Id. ¶¶ 37, 40.)1

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On June 30, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia vacated the Interim Final Rule in Capital Area Immigrants' Rights v. Trump, No. 19-cv-2117, 2020 WL 3542481, at *23 (D.D.C. June 30, 2020). (Id. ¶ 38.) Accordingly, on September 25, 2020, Poghosyan filed a motion to reopen based on that change in law, which he asserts makes him eligible for asylum. (Id. ¶ 39.) That motion to reopen also remains pending. (Id.)

When the BIA denied Poghosyan's motion to stay removal on October 23, 2020, Respondents stipulated that Poghosyan would not be removed before November 2, 2020. (Id. ¶ 40.) With his appeal and motion to reopen still pending on November 2, 2020, Poghosyan filed his habeas petition and this TRO. Poghosyan argues that his removal from the United States before he has had an opportunity to fully adjudicate his appeal and motion to reopen violates due process. (Id. at 16.) In particular, he contends he has been denied the opportunity to heard on the pending appeal and motion to reopen, and to present his statutory claim for asylum. (See id. ¶ 42.) Through his TRO, Poghosyan seeks an order enjoining and staying his removal pending the BIA's determination of his appeal and motion to reopen. (TRO ¶ 11.) Respondents opposed on November 3, 2020, and Poghosyan replied on November 4, 2020. (Opp'n; Reply, ECF No. 14.)


Poghosyan seeks a stay of removal pending his appeal and motion to reopen. (TRO 3; Mem. TRO 10-11.) Respondents primarily argue this Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear Poghosyan's petition. (Opp'n 3-9.) Respondents also contend that even if the Court finds it has jurisdiction, Poghosyan fails to make the necessary showing for injunctive relief. (Id. at 9-16.) For the following reasons, the Court finds that it has jurisdiction, and a stay of removal is warranted at least until a hearing can be held.

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A. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Congress has limited judicial review of removal orders through the REAL ID Act of 2005. See 8 U.S.C. § 1252; Singh v. Gonzales, 499 F.3d 969, 977-78 (9th Cir. 2007). Relevant here, §§ 1252(a)(5) and (b)(9) prohibit district courts from reviewing removal orders and make "a petition for review filed with an appropriate court of appeals . . . the sole and exclusive means for judicial review of an order of removal." 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(5); see 8 U.S.C. § 1252(b)(9) ("Judicial review of all questions of law and fact . . . arising from any action taken or proceeding brought to remove an alien . . . shall be available only in judicial review of a final order under this section."). Similarly, § 1252(g) prohibits all judicial review of "any cause or claim by or on behalf of any alien arising from the decision or action by the Attorney General to commence proceedings, adjudicate cases, or execute removal orders against any alien . . . ." 8 U.S.C. § 1252(g).

When considering the applicability of § 1252, the Ninth Circuit has "distinguished between challenges to orders of removal and challenges that arise independently." Gonzales,...

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