United States District Court, D. Minnesota
A. Magnuson United States District Court Judge
matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) of United States Magistrate Judge
Tony Leung. (Docket No. 36.) The R&R recommends denying
Petitioner's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order
(“TRO”). (Docket No. 10.) Petitioner filed timely
objections to the R&R. (Docket No. 40.)
Court must conduct a de novo review of any portion of the
R&R to which specific objections are made. 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); D. Minn. L.R.
72.2(b). Based on that de novo review, and for the reasons
set forth below, the Court overrules Petitioner's
objections and adopts the R&R.
full factual background of this matter is set forth in the
R&R and need not be repeated here. In short, Petitioner
is a citizen and native of Somalia who became a lawful
permanent resident in 2008. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement arrested Petitioner in February 2018 and
commenced removal proceedings based on his 2010 conviction
for aggravated witness tampering, a felony. Petitioner has
remained in mandatory custody since that time under 8 U.S.C.
filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241 in April 2019, challenging the
constitutionality of his continued detention. (Docket No. 1.)
One day later, Petitioner filed the instant Motion for a TRO
seeking essentially the same relief as the petition for writ
of habeas corpus. Petitioner seeks immediate release or a
bond hearing before an immigration judge to determine whether
detention should be continued.
Injunctive Relief Standard
standard for issuing a TRO or a preliminary injunction is the
same. C.S. McCrossan Constr., Inc. v. Minn. Dep't of
Transp., 946 F.Supp.2d 851, 857 n.10 (D. Minn. 2013). A
preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary remedy that
may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the plaintiff
is entitled to such relief.” Winter v. Natural Res.
Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 22 (2008). “A
court issues a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit to
preserve the status quo and prevent irreparable harm until
the court has an opportunity to rule on the lawsuit's
merits.” Devose v. Herrington, 42 F.3d 470,
471 (8th Cir. 1994). When deciding whether to issue an
injunction, courts consider four factors: (1) the threat of
irreparable harm to the movant; (2) the balance of harm the
injunction would have on the movant and the opposing party;
(3) the probability that movant will succeed on the merits;
and (4) the public interest. Dataphase Sys., Inc. v.
CL Sys., Inc., 640 F.2d 109, 113 (8th Cir.
1981). “The burden on the movant is a heavy one where,
as here, granting the preliminary injunction will give [the
movant] substantially the relief it would obtain after a
trial on the merits.” Sanborn Mfg. Co. v. Campbell
Hausfeld/Scott Fetzer Co., 997 F.2d 484, 486 (8th Cir.
1993) (quotation omitted).
to show irreparable harm is an independently sufficient
ground upon which to deny a preliminary injunction.”
Watkins, Inc. v. Lewis, 346 F.3d 841, 844 (8th Cir.
2003). “The basis of injunctive relief in the federal
courts has always been irreparable harm and inadequacy of
legal remedies.” Bandag, Inc. v. Jack's Tire
& Oil, Inc., 190 F.3d 924, 926 (8th Cir.1999)
(quoting Beacon Theatres, Inc. v. Westover, 359 U.S.
500, 506-07, 79 S.Ct. 948, 3 L.Ed.2d 988 (1959)). When there
is an adequate remedy at law, a preliminary injunction is not
appropriate. Modern Computer Sys., Inc. v. Modern Banking
Sys., Inc., 871 F.2d 734, 738 (8th Cir.1989).
R&R recommends denying Petitioner's Motion for a TRO
because Petitioner has failed to show that he will suffer
irreparable harm in the absence of injunctive relief, and
Petitioner already has an adequate remedy at law through his
writ of habeas corpus. Petitioner objects, arguing that he
has established a threat of irreparable harm, and that the
R&R mischaracterized the “status quo” while
failing to analyze Petitioner's likelihood of success on
the merits under Dataphase.
is not attempting to “preserve the status quo” to
avoid a forthcoming irreparable harm, however.
Devose, 42 F.3d at 471. He is not subject to a final
removal order and his removal is not otherwise imminent.
Rather, Petitioner is claiming that his ongoing detention
constitutes a “deprivation of liberty” which
satisfies the exacting standard for irreparable harm.
(Pet'r's Obj. (Docket No. 40) at 2.) Although his
detention is certainly a harm, Petitioner has not established
that irreparable harm will occur if he continues to be
detained while his petition for writ of habeas corpus is
litigated. Petitioner's habeas petition has already been
fully briefed, and it is expected that the manner will be
resolved expeditiously. Continued detention during the
pendency of Petitioner's habeas petition, with no
forthcoming removal or change in status, does not demonstrate
that the harm is “certain and great and of such
imminence that there is a clear and present need for
equitable relief.” Roudachevski v. All-Am. Care
Centers, Inc., 648 F.3d 701, 706 (8th Cir. 2011).
Finally, as the R&R correctly points out, if detention
during removal proceedings constitutes irreparable harm in
and of itself, nearly all habeas petitioners would be
entitled to injunctive relief. For these reasons, Petitioner
has not shown that he will suffer irreparable harm.
the fact remains that a TRO is an improper vessel for the
relief Petitioner seeks under these circumstances. Despite
Petitioner's contentions, the “status quo” in
this matter is Petitioner's mandatory detention under
§ 1226(c) while his removal proceedings are adjudicated.
He is not seeking to preserve the status quo until his
petition may be decided on the merits, which is the purpose