Gonzalez-Alarcon v. Macias

Abraham Gonzalez-Alarcon filed a habeas petition alleging specific facts which, if proven, would have demonstrated he was a United States citizen. He sought release from custody from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) following ICE’s reinstatement of a prior order of removal on that basis. Dismissing Gonzalez-Alarcon’s petition, the district court concluded that he was required to exhaust administrative remedies, jurisdiction was barred by the REAL ID Act, and the petition for review process was an adequate substitute for habeas such that the REAL ID Act’s jurisdiction-stripping provisions do not offend the Suspension Clause. After review, the Tenth Circuit concluded the exhaustion provision at issue did not govern facially valid citizenship claims; that subsection applies only to aliens. And because district courts had jurisdiction to determine their own jurisdiction, the Tenth Circuit held a court must first consider whether a petitioner was in fact an alien before requiring exhaustion. Furthermore, the Court held the REAL ID Act’s jurisdiction-stripping provisions raised serious Suspension Clause concerns in one limited context: with respect to a United States citizen subject to a reinstated order of removal for whom the deadline to seek judicial review has passed, the REAL ID Act appeared to bar federal court review. “These restrictions would effectively strip citizenship from those who do not clear various procedural hurdles. Citizenship cannot be relinquished through mere neglect. . . . and ‘[t]he very nature of the writ demands that it be administered with the initiative and flexibility essential to insure that miscarriages of justice within its reach are surfaced and corrected.’” Under the Suspension Clause, the Tenth Circuit held Gonzalez-Alarcon had to be granted some path to advance his facially valid claim of citizenship in federal court. Before permitting Gonzalez-Alarcon to proceed under the Great Writ, however, he should first attempt to obtain review of his citizenship claim through the REAL ID Act. View "Gonzalez-Alarcon v. Macias" on Justia Law