Immigration Law

Habeas Victory in NH: Compere v. Nielsen

Compere v. Nielsen

"Patrice Compere, a Haitian national, is subject to an outstanding removal order. Although he has challenged the order by filing a motion to reopen his case with the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”), the government plans to return him to Haiti without acting on his motion. Compere argues in a habeas corpus petition that the conditions he will face in Haiti if he is removed will make it impossible for him to litigate his motion. He therefore seeks a stay of the removal order to permit him to obtain a ruling on the motion from the BIA and, if necessary, to seek judicial review of any adverse ruling in the court of appeals.

The government has responded by arguing that I lack the power to interfere with its plan to execute the removal order because Congress has stripped district courts of their habeas
corpus jurisdiction to consider challenges to removal orders. I reject this argument because the jurisdiction-stripping provisions on which the government relies cannot be used to deny Compere his right to habeas corpus relief without violating the Constitution’s Suspension Clause. I also grant Compere the relief he seeks because removing him to Haiti before he can litigate his motion to reopen would violate his rights under federal law."

[Hats off to Prof. Ragini Shah, Clinical Professor of Law at Suffolk University, Boston, and Gilles Bissonnette, ACLU-NH Legal Director, Henry Klementowicz, ACLU-NH Staff Attorney, and SangYeob Kim, ACLU-NH Immigration Fellow!]