United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
B. Saris Chief United States District Judge.
Jaime Antonio Alvarez Figueroa, who was born in El Salvador,
has lived in the United States for 13 years. His two-year-old
daughter is a United States citizen. Petitioner has been in
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”)
custody since April 26, 2017, when he reported to Chelsea
District Court for a pretrial hearing on misdemeanor criminal
charges. ICE was waiting at the courthouse and detained him.
Figueroa initially filed a habeas petition pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241 on January 18, 2018, requesting that this
Court set bond for him while his immigration proceedings were
pending. See Docket No. 1 at 6-7. Respondents moved
to dismiss the petition on February 13, 2018. See
Docket No. 14. After new counsel was appointed for
Petitioner, he filed an amended petition, claiming that (1)
ICE was refusing to transport him to his criminal proceedings
in state court, (2) his year-long detention was unreasonable
and therefore unconstitutional, and (3) his detention was
unlawful because he had not received a constitutionally
adequate bond hearing in immigration court. See
Docket No. 33 ¶¶ 26-43. Petitioner opposed the
motion to dismiss. See Docket No. 34. The government
filed supplemental briefing on the merits of the amended
claims. See Docket No. 39; Docket No. 45.
2, 2018, the Court held a hearing on the motion to dismiss
and the merits of Alvarez Figueroa's petition. That same
day, the Court ordered ICE to transport Alvarez Figueroa to
all future hearings for the state criminal charges.
See Docket No. 41 at 1-2. That order disposed of
Counts I and II in the amended petition, as it granted the
relief requested. See Docket No. 33 ¶¶
26-33. Two additional counts remain before the Court: the
claim of unreasonably prolonged detention, and the claim of
an unconstitutional bond hearing. See Docket No. 33
hearing and a review of the briefs, the Court
DENIES Respondents' motion to
dismiss (Docket No. 14). The Court
ALLOWS the habeas petition, and
ORDERS that Petitioner be released
from detention, unless the immigration court holds a bond
hearing within 14 days where the government bears the burden
of proving that Alvarez Figueroa must be detained because he
is dangerous or a flight risk.
Figueroa is 29 years old and originally from El Salvador.
Docket No. 33 ¶ 12. He arrived in the United States in
2005, fleeing threats from gang members in El Salvador and
seeking to join his mother and siblings who already lived in
this country. See Docket No. 33 ¶¶ 12-13;
Docket No. 1 at 10. Alvarez Figueroa was detained when he
entered the United States and later released on a bond.
Docket No. 1 at 10. He then traveled to East Boston, where he
resided until the time of his detention by ICE. Docket No. 1
entire family lives in the Boston area, and his youngest
sibling is a United States citizen. Docket No. 33 ¶ 13.
Alvarez Figueroa also has a daughter, born in July 2016, who
is a United States citizen. Docket No. 33 ¶ 13; Docket
No. 1 at 12. He married the mother of his child, Tatianna
Chavez, on May 2, 2018. See Docket No. 42. Before he
was detained, Alvarez Figueroa worked as the head cook at
Ginger Exchange, a restaurant with locations in Cambridge and
Boston, to support Chavez and his daughter. Docket No. 33
¶ 13; Docket No. 1 at 12-13.
March 20, 2017, Alvarez Figueroa was arrested for driving
without a license, operating under the influence, and
possession of an open alcohol container in a vehicle. Docket
No. 33 ¶ 14. He had never been arrested prior to that
date. Docket No. 33 ¶ 14. He was arraigned in Chelsea
District Court on the day of his arrest, and released on
personal recognizance. Docket No. 33 ¶ 14. When he
reported to Chelsea District Court for a pretrial hearing on
April 26, 2017, ICE took him into custody outside the
courthouse. Docket No. 33 ¶ 15.
had a custody redetermination hearing in front of an
Immigration Judge (“IJ”) on June 27, 2017. Docket
No. 33 ¶ 17. The IJ placed the burden of proof on
Alvarez Figueroa and denied his request for release, finding
that he had failed to prove that he was not a danger to the
community in light of the pending misdemeanor charges. Docket
No. 33 ¶ 17. Petitioner did not appeal the IJ's bond
decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals
(“BIA”). See Docket No. 15-4 ¶ 5.
Since April 26, 2017, Alvarez Figueroa has been detained at
the Plymouth County Correctional Facility and was unable to
attend any pretrial hearings in his state criminal matter
prior to filing this habeas petition. Docket No. 33 ¶
Figueroa was ordered removed on July 18, 2006, but he never
received notice of a hearing and did not find out about the
removal order until he was arrested by ICE in 2017.
See Docket No. 33 ¶ 16; Docket No. 1 at 9.
Based on the lack of notice, Petitioner filed a motion to
reopen his immigration proceedings, which the IJ granted on
June 1, 2017. Docket No. 33 ¶ 16. Alvarez Figueroa's
asylum application was denied by the IJ on November 29, 2017.
Docket No. 33 ¶ 18. His timely appeal is now pending
before the BIA. Docket No. 33 ¶ 18.