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Joshua H. v. Barr

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

July 19, 2019

Joshua H., Petitioner,
William P. Barr, et al., Respondents.

          Joshua H., pro se.

          Ana H. Voss, Ann M. Bildtsen, & Pamela Marentette, United States Attorney for Respondents.



         This matter comes before the Court on the objections (“Objections”) [Doc. No. 17] of Petitioner Joshua H. to Magistrate Judge Tony N. Leung's Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) [Doc. No. 16] recommending that this Court deny Petitioner's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 [Doc. No. 1] without prejudice. For the reasons stated below, the Court overrules Petitioner's objections, adopts the R&R in full, and denies the Petition without prejudice.

         I. Background

         Petitioner is originally from, and is a citizen of, Liberia. (Decl. of Angela Minner, Ex. A [Doc. No. 7-1] at 1.) On March 3, 1999, Petitioner entered the United States as a refugee. (Decl. of Angela Minner [Doc. No. 7] ¶ 5.) Three years later, Petitioner became a lawful permanent resident. (Id. ¶ 6.) In 2009, Petitioner was convicted of second-degree assault, which led Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (“ICE”) officials to detain Petitioner and commence removal proceedings against him. (Id. ¶ 13.) In March 2010, an Immigration Judge ordered Petitioner removed to Liberia and Petitioner did not appeal that decision. (Id. ¶ 14.)

         In June 2010, Petitioner was released on an Order of Supervision as the Embassy of Liberia was not conducting interviews or issuing travel documents to ICE on a regular basis. (Id. ¶ 15.) Five years later, Petitioner was convicted of a number of criminal offenses, including an October 2015 conviction for driving while impaired (“DWI”). (Id. ¶ 16-25.)

         After Petitioner served his sentence and was released from prison on April 16, 2018, he was detained by ICE and served with a notice of revocation of release. (Id. ¶ 27.) He has continued to be held in immigration detention since his DWI term of incarceration expired. (R&R at 3.) ICE has requested travel documents from the Liberian Embassy and followed up at least once every 30 days regarding the status of those documents. (Decl. of Angela Minner ¶ 28.)

         In August 2018, a Liberian Embassy official interviewed Petitioner. (Id. ¶ 32.) Subsequently, Embassy officials requested information concerning an administrative claim he made to the Minnesota Department of Corrections in connection with an injury he suffered in custody. (Id.) Embassy officials then indicated that they would be unlikely to issue travel documents while the claim was pending. (Id.) The claim was formally denied on May 7, 2019 and ICE notified the Embassy of that decision soon thereafter. (Resp.'s Letter to Mag. Judge [Doc. No. 14] at 3.)

         ICE has indicated that Petitioner's travel documents are likely to be issued soon and there is a significant likelihood of removal in the near future. (Id. at 4.) ICE is continuing to regularly contact the Embassy officials to secure travel documents for Petitioner. (Decl. of Angela Minner ¶ 41.)

         Petitioner filed the instant Petition on December 10, 2018. In it, he argues that he has been held for too long in immigration detention and requests immediate release. (Def.'s § 2241 Petition at 2.) On May 29, 2019, Magistrate Judge Leung recommended that the Petition be denied without prejudice. (R&R at 7.) Petitioner timely objected. On June 28, 2019, Respondent replied to Plaintiff's Objections [Doc. No. 19].

         II. Analysis

         Upon issuance of an R&R, a party may “serve and file specific written objections to the proposed findings and recommendations.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). “The objections should specify the portion of the magistrate judge's [R&R] to which objections are made and provide a basis for those objections.” Mayer v. Walvatne, No. 07-cv-1958 (JRT/RLE), 2008 WL 4527774, at *2 (D. Minn. Sept. 28, 2008). Then, the district court will review de novo those portions of the R&R to which an objection is made, and it “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); D. Minn. LR 72.2(b)(3).

         A person detained by the government may file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus to challenge the legality of his confinement and, if successful, obtain his release. See Preiser v. Rodriguez,411 U.S. 475, 485 (1973). Under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, federal courts have jurisdiction to hear habeas challenges to the lawfulness of immigration-related detentions. Zadvydas v. Davis, 533 U.S. 678, 687 (2001). A district court may not review a discretionary decision made ...

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