United States District Court, S.D. California
William Q. Hayes United States District Judge.
matter before the Court is the Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 filed by Petitioner
Mukesh Mehla. (ECF No. 1).
is a native and citizen of India who is currently detained at
the Otay Mesa Detention Center. (Petition, Ex. B, ECF No. 1-4
at 3, 8). On June 22, 2019, Petitioner entered the United
States near the San Ysidro Port of Entry without inspection.
Petitioner was apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol,
transported to the Otay Mesa Detention Center, and placed in
expedited removal proceedings. After Petitioner expressed a
fear of returning to India because he converted from Hindu to
Christianity, Petitioner was referred to a USCIS asylum
officer for a credible fear determination.
August 21, 2019, the asylum officer interviewed Petitioner.
The asylum officer determined that Petitioner “is found
credible” but did not have a credible fear of
persecution. (Id. at 13, 28). The asylum officer
determined that “[a]lthough the applicant established a
significant possibility of past persecution on account of his
religion, there is substantial evidence that the applicant
could internally relocate and that it would be reasonable for
him to do so.” (Id. at 29). A supervisor
approved the asylum officer's determination on August 23,
August 26, 2019, Petitioner requested review of the asylum
officer's determination by an immigration judge. On
August 29, 2019, the Immigration Judge reviewed the asylum
officer's determination and interviewed Petitioner.
(Petition, Ex. A, ECF No. 1-3 at 2). The Immigration Judge
affirmed the determination of the asylum officer that
Petitioner did not establish a credible fear of persecution
and ordered Petitioner removed. The Immigration Judge
determined, “Court finds respondent not credible and
affirms on that basis due to de novo review authority and not
based on internal relocation finding.” (Id.).
November 25, 2019, Petitioner filed the Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 naming
Respondents U.S. Department of Homeland Security; U.S.
Customs and Border Protection; U.S. Citizenship and
Immigration Services; U.S. Customs and Immigration
Enforcement; U.S. Department of Justice; William P. Barr;
Chad F. Wolf; Mark Morgan; Kenneth T. Cuccinelli; Carla L.
Provost; David M. Radel; Alanna Y. Ow; Melissa M. Maxim;
Gregory J. Archambeault; and Fred Figueroa. (ECF No. 1).
Petitioner seeks 1) release from custody; 2) an order staying
Petitioner's removal and barring his transfer to another
detention facility; 3) an order enjoining Respondents from
“continuing to apply the Lesson Plans and any related
credible fear guidance issued by Respondents on or around
April 30, 2019 and September 30, 2019;” 4) an order
enjoining Respondents from “removing Petitioner without
first providing him with new credible fear screening under
correct legal standards or, in the alternative, full
immigration court removal proceedings pursuant to 8 U.S.C.
§ 1229a; and 5) attorneys' fees and costs. (ECF No.
1 at 41).
November 25, 2019, Respondents filed a Return. (ECF No. 2).
November 27, 2019, Petitioner filed a Reply. (ECF No. 4).
Court heard oral argument on the Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus on December 2, 2019.
alleges that habeas relief is warranted because
Petitioner's Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights were
violated “on account of acts taken by the Respondents
in disregard of substantive and procedural due
process.” (ECF No. 1 ¶ 3). Petitioner alleges that
“Respondents' efforts and actions to deport and
remove him . . . fail to meet the most basic requirements of
the Suspension Clause, and thus the determination and removal
orders are faulty and without legal force.”
(Id. ¶ 103). Petitioner alleges that “he
is being held, and ordered removed, without having had a
‘meaningful opportunity to demonstrate that he is being
held pursuant to the erroneous application or interpretation
of relevant law.'” (Id. ¶ 3 (quoting
Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723, 779 (2008)).
Petitioner contends that the Department of Homeland Security
has not met its burden to establish that “there is not
countrywide persecution” such that it would be
reasonable for Petitioner to relocate. (Id.
¶¶ 27-28). Petitioner further alleges that the
April 30, 2019, and September 30, 2019, “Lesson
Plans” issued by the Trump administration, which
provide guidance to asylum officers on credible fear
screenings, instruct officers “in a manner that is
contrary to the governing statutes and regulations and
substantially-and unlawfully-narrows access to the
immigration and federal court systems.” (Id.
¶¶ 4, 10).
contend that habeas relief is not warranted. Respondents
contend that the Court lacks jurisdiction to review
Petitioner's challenge to the “Lesson Plans.”
Respondents contend that 8 U.S.C. § 1252(e)(3) requires
systemic challenges to expedited removal proceedings to be
brought in the United States District Court for the District
of Columbia. Respondents further contend that Petitioner
fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted
because “Petitioner sets forth allegations of what
happened before the asylum officer and the IJ, but makes no
specific allegations that either of them did anything
unconstitutional or otherwise unlawful.” (ECF No. 2 at
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