Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tijani v. Willis case brief

Tijani v. Willis case brief summary
430 F.3d 1241 (2005)

Petitioner, a lawfully admitted resident alien who was facing deportation, brought a habeas petition challenging his mandatory detention by respondent Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement under 8 U.S.C.S. § 1226(c). The United States District Court for the Southern District of California denied the habeas petition. Petitioner appealed.


  • The appellate court noted that petitioner had been deprived of his liberty by the government for a period of over two years and eight months. 
  • This deprivation had been inflicted not as the result of any adjudication of crime but as a bureaucratic application of the authority conferred on the Attorney General by 8 U.S.C.S. § 1226(c). 
  • The appellate court opined that, despite the substantial powers that Congress may exercise in regard to aliens, it was constitutionally doubtful that Congress may authorize imprisonment of this duration for lawfully admitted resident aliens who were subject to removal. 
  • The instant case was distinct from the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Demore, where the alien conceded deportability. 
  • To avoid deciding the constitutional issue, the appellate court interpreted the authority conferred by § 1226(c) as applying to expedited removal of criminal aliens. 
  • The appellate court concluded that two years and eight months of process was not expeditious; and the foreseeable process in the appellate court, where the government's brief in petitioner's appeal of the removal had not yet been filed, was a year or more.

The appellate court reversed the decision of the district court and remanded to the district court with directions to grant the writ unless the government within 60 days of the order provided a hearing to petitioner before an immigration judge with the power to grant him bail unless the government established that he was a flight risk or would be a danger to the community.

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