Friday, November 12, 2010

Alien subject to removal order may be held longer than six months if removal is likely to occur sometime in the future

Nabil v. Holder, No. JFM-10-1786, 2010 WL 4485894 (D. Md. Nov. 9, 2010):

The only issue before the district court on Nabil's petition for a writ of habeas corpus concerns the reasonableness of his continued post-removal detention.  Nabil is a native of Afghanistan and completed his federal sentences for a variety of crimes.  Deportation to Afghanistan proved difficult for procedural reasons, and Nabil has been confined for over a year while the governments go through the process of securing the necessary identification documents.

After a removal order becomes final, the United States must detain an alien for up to ninety days.  Although the statute appears to authorize discretionary indefinite detention of a removable alien beyond such period, the Supreme Court has held that post-removal-order detention is implicitly limited to a period reasonably necessary to bring about the alien's removal from the United States and does not permit indefinite detention.  The Court held that an alien may be held for six months, after which the Government must show evidence rebutting the contention that there is no significant likelihood of removal in the reasonably foreseeable future.

In this case, Nabil's six-month period expired on April 22, 2010.  Nabil has offered no evidence, other than the delay in obtaining travel documents from a foreign government, that his removal is not likely to occur in the foreseeable future.  The United States government adequately rebutted the contention by showing that removal is likely to occur—it will just take a while.  Thus, Nabil's petition for a writ of habeas corpus was denied.

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