Immigration Law

CA3 on Mandatory Detention, Habeas: Chavez-Alvarez v. Warden

"Chavez-Alvarez appeals the District Court’s denial of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus.  He contends that the Government is violating his right to due process by detaining him, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. §1226(c), without a bond hearing since June 5, 2012.  We will reverse the District Court’s order and remand with instruction to grant the writ of habeas corpus and ensure that Chavez-Alvarez is promptly afforded a bond hearing. ...

The total number of days that Chavez-Alvarez has been held in civil detention since his arrest, of itself, gives us reason for pause. ...

The issue of good faith is necessarily decided on the individual circumstances, but the analysis is more complex than the method posed by the Government: counting wins and losses.  The most important consideration for us is whether an alien challenges aspects of the Government’s case that present real issues, for example: a genuine factual dispute; poor legal reasoning; reliance on a contested legal theory; or the presence of a new legal issue.  Where questions are legitimately raised, the wisdom of our ruling in Leslie is plainly relevant: we cannot “effectively punish” these aliens for choosing to exercise their legal right to challenge the Government’s case against them by rendering “the corresponding increase in time of detention [as] reasonable.” Leslie, 678 F.3d at 271. ...

[B]eginning sometime after the six-month timeframe considered by Demore, and certainly by the time Chavez-Alvarez had been detained for one year, the burdens to Chavez-Alvarez’s liberties outweighed any justification for using presumptions to detain him without bond to further the goals of the statute.  We conclude that the underlying goals of the statute would not have been, and will not now be undermined by requiring the Government to produce individualized evidence that Chavez-Alvarez’s continued detention was or is necessary.

We will reverse the District Court’s order, and remand with instruction to enter an order granting the writ of habeas corpus and ensure that Chavez-Alvarez is afforded, within ten days of the entry of this order, a hearing to determine whether, on evidence particular to Chavez-Alvarez, it is necessary to continue to detain him to achieve the goals of the statute." - Chavez-Alvarez v. Warden, Apr. 9, 2015.  [Hats way off to Craig Shagin and Valerie Burch!]