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Enwonwu v. Chertoff - 376 F. Supp. 2d 42 (D. Mass. 2005)


Section 106 of the REAL ID Act, Pub. L. No. 109-13, 119 Stat. 302 (May 11, 2005), took effect upon its enactment and applies "to cases in which the final administrative order of removal, deportation, or exclusion was issued before, on, or after the date of enactment of this division." Further, this section requires district courts to transfer to the appropriate court of appeals all pending habeas petitions which challenge removal orders. 


Petitioner Enwonwu, a native and citizen of Nigeria, was arrested for smuggling heroin nearly 20 years prior and opposed his deportation contending that his cooperation with immigrations and drug enforcement officials were conditioned on a promise that he would not be deported. Special Agent Herbert Lemon of the Drug Enforcement Administration, a hearing officer, agreed that it was "more likely than not" that Enwonwu would be tortured if he was removed, but the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) vacated Lemon's decision and ordered Enwonwu removed. Thereafter, Enwonwu sought habeas corpus relief in federal district court.


Was Enwonwu entitled to federal habeas corpus relief?




The district court recommended that Enwonwu's request for habeas corpus relief be granted because the Government's affirmative acts in inducing his cooperation as an informant placed Enwonwu in a worse position than had it not acted at all. The district court found that administrative exhaustion under 8 U.S.C.S. § 1252(d) was not required of Enwonwu's substantive due process claim because the BIA was without jurisdiction to adjudicate purely constitutional issues.

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