Department Of Homeland Security v. Thuraissigiam

140 S.Ct. 1959 (2020)


In 1996, Congress enacted the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) for weeding out patently meritless asylum claims and expeditiously removing the aliens making such claims from the country. Congress held that detaining all asylum seekers until the full-blown removal process is completed would place an unacceptable burden on our immigration system and that releasing them would present an undue risk that they would fail to appear for removal proceedings. IIRIRA placed restrictions on the ability of asylum seekers to obtain review under the federal habeas statute. Under the provisions, several classes of aliens are “inadmissible” and therefore “removable.” These include aliens who lack a valid entry document “at the time of application for admission.” Applicants can avoid expedited removal by claiming asylum. The IIRIRA provision at issue in this case, §1252(e)(2), limits the review that an alien in expedited removal may obtain via a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. That provision allows habeas review of three matters: first, “whether the petitioner is an alien”; second, “whether the petitioner was ordered removed”; and third, whether the petitioner has already been granted entry as a lawful permanent resident, refugee, or asylee. If the petitioner has such a status, or if a removal order has not “in fact” been “issued,” the court may order a removal hearing. Section 1252(e)(5) provides that “there shall be no review of whether the alien is actually inadmissible or entitled to any relief from removal.” And “notwithstanding” any other “habeas corpus provision”-including 28 U. S. C. §2241-“no court shall have jurisdiction to review” any other “individual determination” or “claim arising from or relating to the implementation or operation of an order of [expedited] removal.” §1252(a)(2)(A)(i). Courts may not review “the determination” that an alien lacks a credible fear of persecution. §1252(a)(2)(A)(iii). P, a Sri Lankan national, crossed the southern border without inspection or an entry document at around 11 p.m. one night in January 2017. P was stopped within 25 yards of the border, and D detained him for expedited removal. P claimed a fear of returning to Sri Lanka because a group of men had once abducted and severely beaten him, but he said that he did not know who the men were, why they had assaulted him, or whether Sri Lankan authorities would protect him in the future. P did not fear persecution based on his race, political opinions, or other protected characteristics. The asylum officer determined that P  lacked a “credible” fear of persecution, as defined by §1225(b)(1)(B)(v) because he had offered no evidence that could have made him eligible for asylum. The supervising officer agreed and signed the removal order. An Immigration Judge affirmed on de novo review and returned the case to the Department for removal. P then filed a federal habeas petition. Asserting for the first time a fear of persecution based on his Tamil ethnicity and political views, P argued that he “should have passed the credible fear stage.” P alleged the immigration officials deprived him of “a meaningful opportunity to establish his claims” and violated credible-fear procedures by failing to probe past his denial of the facts necessary for asylum. The District Court dismissed the petition, holding that §§1252(a)(2) and (e)(2) and clear Ninth Circuit case law foreclosed review of the negative credible-fear determination that resulted in P’s expedited removal order. The court rejected P’s argument “that the jurisdictional limitations of §1252(e) violate the Suspension Clause,” again relying on Circuit precedent.  The Ninth Circuit reversed. It found that our Suspension Clause precedent demands “reference to the writ as it stood in 1789.” The court held that §1252(e)(2) violates the Suspension Clause. It held that  P “has procedural due process rights,” specifically the right “‘to expedited removal proceedings that conformed to the dictates of due process.’” D appealed.