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Immigration Law

CA10 on 'When...Released' - Olmos v. Holder (Mandatory Detention)

"For aliens, a criminal conviction can often result in removal (deportation).  When an alien is convicted and the federal government seeks removal, an immigration judge can ordinarily conduct a bond hearing to decide whether the alien should be released or detained while he waits for his removal hearing.  But, in 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c), Congress has required detention (without a bond hearing) for some categories of aliens.  These aliens must be taken into custody by the United States Attorney General when they are released in their criminal cases.

Against the backdrop of this statutory framework, Mr. Manuel Olmos (a citizen of Mexico) was convicted in state court on charges involving identity theft, providing false information to a pawnbroker, and forgery of a government document.  Mr. Olmos obtained probation, but was taken into federal custody six days later on the ground that his conviction triggered mandatory detention.

Mr. Olmos sought a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that he was entitled to a bond hearing, where he could seek release while his removal hearing was pending.  The district court agreed with Mr. Olmos and granted a writ of habeas corpus, holding that he was entitled to a bond hearing.  At the eventual bond hearing, Mr. Olmos was released on a $12,000 bond.

The government contends that the Attorney General had a statutory duty to detain Mr. Olmos (without a bond hearing) notwithstanding his six-day gap in custody.  We agree with the government based on (1) deference to the way the Board of Immigration Appeals has interpreted § 1226(c) and (2) the continued duty to impose mandatory detention even if the Attorney General had waited too long to take custody of Mr. Olmos.  For both reasons, we reverse." - Olmos v. Holder, Mar. 24, 2015.