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Our Immigration Law Blog

By The Grotas Firm, PC

Another Habeas Victory in the Southern District of New York: Hylton v. Shanahan 15-cv-1243-LTS

Another Habeas Victory in the Southern District of New York. 
Hylton v. Shanahan 15-cv-1243-LTS

On July 1, 2013 the Department of Homeland Security detained  Antoine Hylton despite the fact he was  never sentenced a period of incarceration for a criminal conviction – he was sentenced to probation. DHS detained him more than two years after he plead guilty. He has resided in the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident since 1989.
The procedural posture of the immigration proceedings is relevant. The Immigration Hearings lasted for almost two years and  Hylton was victorious. The Immigration Judge ordered that he could remain in the United States of America as a lawful permanent resident. Despite the fact that Hylton was detained for the entire course of proceedings, DHS decided to appeal and to continue to detain Hylton for the length of the appeal.
At this point, Su Yo Yi  from the Queens Law Associates, Public Defenders Office filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Southern District of New York. It was assigned to Judge Laura Taylor Swain. Attorney Yi made three arguments. 1. The “when released” argument states that an immigrant is not subject to mandatory detention because they were not detained when they were released from criminal incarceration. 2. The “released” argument states that an immigrant who was never sentenced to a period of incarceration has never been “released” from criminal custody. Finally, the “due process” argument:   it is constitutionally unfair to detain an immigrant for two years without a bond hearing.

The “When Released” Argument.

The Court declined to address the “when released” argument. However, Honorable Laura Taylor Swain has granted and denied petitions for writ of habeas corpus which were filed on the “when released argument previously.

The “Released” Argument.

Judge Swain granted the Writ of Habeas Corpus on the “released ground”.  The released argument concerns whether an immigrant is subject to mandatory detention if they have never been released from jail. If an immigrant is convicted of a crime and then is sentenced to probation, has he been released?

Judge Swain’s decision cites to a decision by Judge Englemayer’s decision in Strayker v. Jones, 986 F. 2d 345 (S.D.N.Y. 2013).

In Straker v. Jones, 986 F. Supp. 2d 345 (S.D.N.Y. 2013), the Honorable Paul A. Engelmayer found the governments position untenable, reasoning that to construe the statute as authorizing detention of an alien without bond upon his or her pre-conviction release from arrest would render the detained alien unavailable to proceed properly in the criminal adjudication process, and ‘create discord’ with other subdivisions of the statute that contemplate ICE detention only after an individual serves a custodial sentence.  986 F. Supp. 2d 345, 357-359 (S.D.N.Y. 2013).

Judge Swain is not the only District Court Judge to cite to Judge Englemayer’s decision in Strayker.  Finally, the court found INA 236(c) unambiguous in requiring a period of incarceration in order to be subject to mandatory detention. She ordered that  a bond hearing be held by the Immigration Judge.
The “Prolonged Detention” Argument

Judge Swain ruled that Hylan’s two year period of detention was constitutional. Judge Swain engaged in a “fact-dependent approach”. She held  that because Hylan had requested an adjournments to seek counsel and prepare applications and motions he was to blame for the delay. Finally, the Court held that his case is proceeding in the normal course of ordinary business and that he may not be detained for a prolonged period in the future.

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