United States District Court, D. Maryland
THEODORE D.CHUANG United States District Judge.
March 2, 2017, Petitioner Samuel Quartey filed this petition
for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. §
2241 in which he alleges that he has been held by Immigration
and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") authorities since
April 5, 2016. The Government filed an Answer to the
Petition, and Quartey filed a Reply. For the reasons that
follow, the Petition is DENIED.
is a native and citizen of Ghana. He has lived in the United
States since 2011 and was granted lawful permanent resident
status on April 16, 2013. On January 22, 2014, Quartey was
convicted in a Maryland state court of fraud based on
personal identity information theft and sentenced to three
years of imprisonment, all suspended, and three years of
probation. On November 6, 2015, Quartey was again convicted
of fraud based on personal identity information theft and was
sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment, all suspended, and
three years of probation. On January 21, 2016, Quartey was
convicted of violating his probation and was sentenced to a
90-day term of imprisonment.
of his 2014 and 2015 criminal convictions, Quartey was
charged as removable under Section 237(a)(2)(A)(i) of the
Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA") based on
his conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude
committed within five years after admission, and under
Section 237(a)(2)(A)(ii) of the INA based on his conviction
for two crimes involving moral turpitude not arising out of a
single scheme of criminal conduct. On April 5, 2016, ICE
initiated removal proceedings against Quartey, at which time
he was taken into custody pending his removal. Quartey was
ordered removed to Ghana on June 27, 2016. In August 2016,
Quartey withdrew his appeal to the Board of Immigration
Appeals of the removal order. The withdrawal of the appeal
made the removal order final. See 8 C.F.R §
November 1, 2016 and February 13, 2017, ICE issued Decisions
to Continue Detention based on Quartey's criminal
convictions and the removal order. In these Decisions, ICE
advised Quartey that it was working to, and expected to,
secure a travel document for his removal to Ghana. Once
Quartey participated in an interview with the Embassy of
Ghana (the "Embassy"), the Embassy agreed to issue
a travel document for Quartey. Quartey is scheduled to be
deported to Ghana on June 12, 2017.
Petition seeks Quartey's release from ICE detention,
invoking Zadvydas v. Davis, 533 U.S. 678 (2001).
Specifically, Quartey alleges that his six-month
presumptively reasonable removal period under
Zadvydas ended on December 27, 2016, and because
"neither ICE nor Ghana has provided any indication that
Ghana would accept [Quartey] in the reasonabl[y] foreseeable
future, " he is entitled to habeas corpus
relief. Pet. at 7, ECF No. 1. Respondent argues that Quartey
has failed to establish that he is unlikely to be removed in
the foreseeable future because of the pending removal date.
In his Reply, Quartey expresses skepticism about the
representation that he will be removed on June 12, 2017 but
states that he "will give ICE a second chance up to June
12, 2017 to execute the removal order." Reply at 2, ECF
only issue pending before this Court is the reasonableness of
Quartey's continued detention following his removal
order. After a removal order becomes final, ICE must remove
the alien from the United States within 90 days (the
"removal period"). See 8 U.S.C. §
1231(a)(1)(A) (2016). In Zadvydas, the United States
Supreme Court held that post-removal-order detention under 8
U.S.C. § 1231(a) is limited to a period reasonably
necessary to effect the alien's removal from the United
States. 533 U.S. at 699. A six-month detention period is
presumptively reasonable, but after six months, if "the
alien provides good reason to believe that there is no
significant likelihood of removal in the reasonably
foreseeable future, " the Government must respond with
evidence to rebut that showing. Id. at 701.
"[T]he habeas court must ask whether the
detention in question exceeds a period reasonably necessary
to secure removal. It should measure reasonableness primarily
in terms of the statute's basic purpose, namely, assuring
the alien's presence at the moment of removal."
Id. at 699.
has been detained for approximately 11 months since the entry
of his removal order. He asserts that despite his efforts to
cooperate with ICE, the Embassy has refused to provide the
travel documents necessary for his removal. Based on the
length of his detention, the Court concludes that Quartey has
met his initial burden to show that removal is unlikely to
occur in the reasonably foreseeable future. Thus, under
Zadvydas, the burden shifts to Respondent to
demonstrate that removal is likely to occur. To meet this
burden, Respondent has submitted the Declaration of David
Scarberry, an ICE Detention and Deportation Officer. In the
Declaration, Scarberry states that the Embassy has now agreed
to issue a travel document for Quartey and that Quartey is
scheduled to be deported the week of June 12, 2017. Quartey
provides no evidence to challenge this assertion. Indeed, he
has expressed his willingness to "give ICE a second
chance up to June 12, 2017." Reply at 2.
light of the Scarberry Declaration, the Court concludes that
Quartey's detention does not, at present, violate
Zadvydas. Because Quartey's repatriation appears
not only foreseeable but imminent, his current detention
pending removal does not violate his liberty interest.
See Diallo v. Mumford, No. JFM-16-0350, 2016 WL
8674579, at *2 (D. Md. Apr. 29, 2016). (finding that a
nine-month custody period after the issuance of a removal
order was reasonable where travel documents were expected to
be issued within the next two months); Talledo-Acosta v.
Gonzales, No. 06-CV-2362(WJM), 2007 WL 708877, at *1 (D.
N.J. 2007) (finding detention was reasonable where petitioner
was going to receive travel documents and had been booked on
a flight to his home country).
Quartey is not removed to Ghana by the end of the week of
June 12, 2017, the Court will entertain a renewed Petition.
Accordingly, Respondent shall file a status report, along
with verified attachments, concerning Quartey's removal
status, no later than June 30, 2017.
it is hereby ORDERED that:
Petition is DENIED ...