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Williams v. Sessions

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

January 16, 2019

Mark Williams, Petitioner,
v.
Jeff Sessions, Attorney General, Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security; Peter Berg, Director, St. Paul Field Office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and Warden of Immigration Detention Facility, Respondents.

          ORDER

          David S. Doty, Judge

         This matter is before the court upon petitioner Mark Williams' petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Based on a review of the file, record, and proceedings herein, and for the following reasons, the petition is denied.

         BACKGROUND

         On October 12, 1997, Williams entered the United States through the port of New Orleans. Siekert Decl. Ex. A at 2. Williams arrived as a stowaway aboard the M/V Princess Margarita and did not have identification. Id. In his initial immigration interviews, Williams claimed that he was born on March 16, 1977, in Liberia and was a Liberian citizen. Id. at 3, 5. He further stated that his parents, Sam and Lucy Williams, were also Liberian citizens from Monrovia and that he and his family spoke Krahn and English. Id. at 5. Williams claimed that he attended the Maryland primary school in Monrovia from 1984 through 1989. Id. at 5, 15. Williams claimed that his last permanent Liberian address was 021 Bensons Street, Monrovia. Id. at 15.

         On October 21, 1997, Williams applied for asylum, claiming that his life was in danger in Liberia and that the Charles Taylor government had murdered members of his family in 1994 because of his father's political activities. Id. at 8. On January 16, 1998, the Immigration Judge (IJ) granted Williams' request for asylum. Id. at 20.

         Williams has an extensive criminal history. Id. at 177-78. On October 17, 2007, Williams was convicted in North Dakota of gross sexual imposition (GPI) and sentenced to ten years in prison. Id. at 178. On June 28, 2008, Williams provided a sworn statement to federal immigration officials identifying his father as Benjamin, not James, Williams. Id. at 69. On August 25, 2008, the IJ reopened Williams' asylum proceeding because the GPI conviction rendered him ineligible for asylum status. Id. at 79.

         On January 30, 2014, Williams provided another sworn statement representing that his parents were from Todee Town and Bomi County, Liberia, not Monrovia. Id. at 85. Williams also claimed that before leaving Liberia, his permanent address was 2100 Johnson Street, not 021 Bensons Street, Monrovia. Id. On March 4, 2014, Williams completed his GPI sentence and was transferred from state criminal custody to federal immigration custody. Id. at 94; see also Miner Decl. ¶ 32.

         On June 2, 2014, the IJ denied Williams' renewed request for asylum and his additional requests for withholding of removal and deferral of removal under the convention against torture. Siekert Decl. Ex. A at 149. The same day, the IJ ordered Williams removed from the United States. Id.

         On June 9, 2014, federal immigration officials contacted the Liberian Embassy to process Williams' removal. Id. at 150. However, the Liberian Embassy was not processing repatriation requests at that time. Miner Decl. ¶ 34. On September 16, 2014, federal immigration officials released Williams on supervision conditions because there did not appear to be a significant likelihood of his removal to Liberia in the foreseeable future. Id. ¶ 35; see also Siekert Decl. Ex. A at 160.

         On May 16, 2016, Williams was convicted in North Dakota of failure to register as a sex offender and sentenced to 245 days in prison. Siekert Decl. Ex. A at 177. On March 28, 2016, Williams was convicted in North Dakota of disorderly conduct and sentenced to 360 days in prison. Id.

         On February 15, 2018, Williams was transferred from state criminal custody to federal immigration custody, where he remains. Miner Decl. ¶ 40. On May 16, 2018, federal immigration officials notified Williams that he would remain in immigration detention until removed from the United States because he was a community threat. Siekert Decl. Ex. A at 186.

         In mid 2018, federal immigration officials learned that the Liberian Embassy was processing repatriation requests for Liberian citizens, even if the Liberian citizen never held a Liberian passport. Miner Decl. ¶ 41. On July 19, 2018, Williams was interviewed by the Liberian Embassy. Id. On August 14, 2018, the Liberian Embassy informed federal immigration officials that it would not issue a travel document at that time because Williams had tribal scars not often found in Liberia and he did not know various common facts about Liberia. Id. ¶ 42. The Liberian Embassy opined that Williams may be from Nigeria. Id. To date, the Liberian government has not issued a final order denying Williams a travel document. Id. On October 3, 2018, the Nigerian Consulate advised federal immigration officials that there is no evidence that Williams was Nigerian and that it would not conduct an interview or entertain a travel document request. Id. ¶ 48.

         On October 5, 2018, Williams told federal immigration officials that he actually had never attended the Maryland primary school in Monrovia and did not speak Krahn. Id. ¶ 52. Williams also stated that his family had intentionally scarred him for his protection and identification in the event that he was separated from them. Siekert Decl. Ex. A at 191.

         The same day, federal law enforcement officials listened to two recorded jail-house telephone calls Williams placed from the Sherburne County Jail to an unknown women and his son. Miner Decl. ¶ 54. Williams told the women that federal immigration officials will not be able to deport him because he was a stowaway on a ship and there are no documents establishing his Liberian citizenship. Id. Williams told his son that federal immigration officials are ...


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