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Case Name Ragbir v. Sessions IM-NY-0061
Docket / Court 1:18-cv-00236-KBF ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization NYU Clinical Law Center
Case Summary
On Jan. 11, 2018, a lawful permanent resident (LPR) held in immigration detention filed this habeas corpus petition against the U.S. government for alleged violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Represented by NYU Law School's ... read more >
On Jan. 11, 2018, a lawful permanent resident (LPR) held in immigration detention filed this habeas corpus petition against the U.S. government for alleged violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Represented by NYU Law School's Immigrant Rights Clinic, the plaintiff filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The case was assigned to Judge Katherine B. Forrest.

The plaintiff stated that, during a routine visit to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office, he was arrested, detained, and told he would be removed from the country. He was caught unprepared. He had been an LPR since 1994 and had raised a family in the country. After a conviction for wire fraud committed as part of his employment, he served a prison sentence, was placed in immigration removal proceedings, and then was held in immigration detention from 2006 to 2008. Since then, ICE had allowed him to remain in the United States under an order of supervision and four successive stays of removal, accompanied by work authorization. Over the following decade, he became a nationally-known immigrants' rights activist based in New York. He checked in with ICE regularly as specified under the terms of his order of supervision. His most recent stay of removal was authorized until Jan. 19, 2018, but he was arrested on Jan. 11.

Now, the plaintiff alleged, he was detained unlawfully. First, he argued that his detention was contrary to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which does not permit re-detention without cause, notice, an opportunity to be heard, and an adequate post-custody review process. Additionally, he alleged that the detention was unconstitutional as a violation of his property and liberty rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, his right to a bond hearing, and his right not to be indefinitely detained while removal was not foreseeable. He asked the Court to order the government either to release him or to hold a bond hearing.

On the same day as the plaintiff filed the petition, Judge Forrest ordered the government not to transfer the plaintiff out of ICE's New York jurisdiction. The plaintiff moved to enforce the order. The government moved to oppose it, arguing that it had already sent the plaintiff to a Miami detention center.

Judge Forrest held a hearing on Jan. 16. The next day, the government informed the Court that it would exercise its discretion and transfer the plaintiff back to New York. Judge Forrest also ordered the government to file proof of a "travel document" that it had mentioned during the hearing. The government's reply stated that the plaintiff's country of citizenship had issued him a travel document that had been valid until Jan. 14. (Later, in her Jan. 29 order, Judge Forrest explained that the government had argued that the plaintiff's status was always subject to revocation once the government had obtained this document -- information not provided to him.)

The plaintiff filed an amended habeas petition on Jan. 17. The government responded on Jan. 19, arguing that it had validly revoked the plaintiff's stay of removal and permissibly detained him while seeking to execute his final removal order. The government asserted that the Court lacked jurisdiction to review the decision, or in the alternative, that the government had committed no statutory or constitutional violations. On Jan. 25, the plaintiff replied, arguing that the detention was unjustified. According to the plaintiff, the government had failed to allow him adjudication of his removal order and an "orderly departure" of his removal was justified. Rather, the government "arbitrarily arrested [him] . . ., handcuffed him in front of his wife and attorney, hastily shuttled him to Miami for detention, without any assertion that he was a flight risk or danger."

On Jan. 29, Judge Forrest held a hearing and issued an order from the bench, granting the plaintiff's habeas petition. She wrote:


The Court in fact agrees with the Government that the statutory scheme . . . allows them to do what was done here. But there are times when statutory schemes may be implemented in ways that tread on rights that are larger, more fundamental. Rights that define who we are as a country, what we demand of ourselves, and what we have guaranteed to each other: our constitutional rights. That has occurred here.

In sum, the Court finds that when this country allowed petitioner to become a part of our community fabric, allowed him to build a life with and among us and to enjoy the liberties and freedom that come with that, it committed itself to allowance of an orderly departure when the time came, and it committed itself to avoidance of unnecessary cruelty when the time came. By denying petitioner these rights, the Government has acted wrongly. . . .

Petitioner is entitled to the freedom to say goodbye.


2018 WL 623557.

On Jan. 30, the plaintiff, now freed from detention, asked the Court to retain jurisdiction. The government had asked the plaintiff to report for deportation on Feb. 30, but the plaintiff was concerned that the timing was premature. However, Judge Forrest responded that the Court's jurisdiction had been premised only on habeas, no longer applicable after the plaintiff's release.

News reports indicate that a New Jersey court stayed the plaintiff's deportation so that he could challenge his original criminal conviction there during early Feb. 2018.

This case is now closed.

Ava Morgenstern - 02/03/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Bail/Bond
Discharge & termination plans
Family reunification
Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond
Habeas Corpus
Over/Unlawful Detention
Placement in detention facilities
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Criminal prosecution
Deportation - criteria
Deportation - procedure
Detention - criteria
Detention - procedures
Status/Classification
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Justice
Plaintiff Description A detained LPR
Indexed Lawyer Organizations NYU Clinical Law Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Habeas relief
Source of Relief Litigation
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Justice for Ravi
www.newsanctuarynyc.org
Date: Jan. 29, 2018
By: New Sanctuary Coalition
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Activist Entitled to ‘Freedom to Say Goodbye,’ Judge Rules
www.nytimes.com
Date: Jan. 29, 2018
By: Liz Robbins (New York Times)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:18-cv-00236-KBF (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0061-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/31/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus [ECF# 1]
IM-NY-0061-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/11/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Petitioner's Application for Order to Show Cause in Support of Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 12] (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0061-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/11/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Petitioner's Motion to Enforce the Court's Order of January 11, 2018 [ECF# 13]
IM-NY-0061-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/12/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Respondents' Memorandum of Law in Opposition to the Petitioner's Motion to Enforce the Court's January 11, 2018 Order, and in Support of the Respondent's Motion to Vacate Portions of the Court's January 11, 2018 Order [ECF# 17]
IM-NY-0061-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/12/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Petitioner's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Respondent's Motion to Vacate Portions of the Court's Order of January 11, 2018 [ECF# 19]
IM-NY-0061-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/15/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Respondents' Reply Memorandum in Further Support of its Motion to Vacate Portions of the Court's Order to Show Cause [ECF# 20]
IM-NY-0061-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/16/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus [ECF# 21]
IM-NY-0061-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/17/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Respondent's Request for Petitioner's Transfer to ICE Facility [ECF# 23]
IM-NY-0061-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/17/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Respondents' Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Petitioner's Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus [ECF# 34]
IM-NY-0061-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/19/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Petitioner's Reply in Support of Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus [ECF# 39]
IM-NY-0061-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/25/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [ECF# 48] (2018 WL 623557 / 2018 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 13939) (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0061-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/29/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Forrest, Katherine Bolan (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0061-0002 | IM-NY-0061-0011 | IM-NY-0061-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Das, Alina (New York)
IM-NY-0061-0001 | IM-NY-0061-0003 | IM-NY-0061-0005 | IM-NY-0061-0007 | IM-NY-0061-0010 | IM-NY-0061-9000
Rofe, Jessica Louise (New York)
IM-NY-0061-0001 | IM-NY-0061-0003 | IM-NY-0061-0005 | IM-NY-0061-0007 | IM-NY-0061-0010 | IM-NY-0061-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Berman, Geoffrey S. (New York)
IM-NY-0061-0004 | IM-NY-0061-0006 | IM-NY-0061-0008 | IM-NY-0061-0009 | IM-NY-0061-9000
Kochevar, Steven J. (New York)
IM-NY-0061-0009 | IM-NY-0061-9000
Waterman, Brandon M. (New York)
IM-NY-0061-0004 | IM-NY-0061-0006 | IM-NY-0061-0008 | IM-NY-0061-0009 | IM-NY-0061-9000

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