Guanlao voluntarily drops her appeal


A Filipino mother of two U.S. citizen minors who has been fighting a 2013 immigration court order of her removal from the CNMI has voluntarily dropped her appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

With that, the Ninth Circuit dismissed Amalia Abo Guanlao’s appeal yesterday. The Ninth Circuit did not indicate the reason for Guanlao’s decision.

Guanlao’s appeal to the Ninth Circuit sought to reverse the U.S. District Court for the NMI’s ruling that dismissed her petition for writ of habeas corpus. The petition seeks to appeal immigration’s removal order.

Last June, U.S. District Court for the NMI designated Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood granted U.S. Homeland Security officials’ motion to dismiss Guanlao’s petition.

Tydingco-Gatewood ruled that since Guanlao failed to exhaust administrative remedies of her claims, she would be required to return to the Board of Immigration Appeals to pursue them.

However, the judge said, Guanlao cannot prevail on her due process claim in the District Court, before BIA, or before the Ninth Circuit.

Last month, the Ninth Circuit denied Guanlao’s motion to reconsider its denial last Aug. 23 of her emergency request to stay or suspend a federal court’s recent order against her.

The District Court’s recent order granted U.S. Immigration and Customs officials’ request to dissolve the court’s previous order that stay an Immigration judge’s removal order against Guanlao.

The Ninth Circuit, however, also ordered that the briefing schedule established previously remains in effect pertaining to Guanlao’s appeal.

Guanlao, through counsel Rosemond Santos, filed the emergency motion to stay pending her appeal of the District Court’s Aug. 13 order.

In that Aug. 13 order, U.S. District Court for the NMI designated Judge Tydingco-Gatewood denied Guanlao’s motion to a stay pending appeal of the proceedings in federal court pending her appeal to the Ninth Circuit.

According to court records, on Sept. 10, 2013, an immigration judge found that Guanlao was removable as an alien and ordered her removed to the Philippines.

Guanlao appealed the decision to BIA. She lost her case before the immigration court.

In June 2016, she filed her petition in federal court for a writ of habeas corpus, seeking determination of “the legality of her continued detention and intended removal” and “a stay of her removal during the pendency of this case.”

Guanlao alleged a violation of her due process rights because her then-counsel Alice Rae failed to inform her of the ability to file a petition for review of the final removal order to the Ninth Circuit.

On June 23, 2016, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona entered a stay of removal “while the court hears the petition on the merits.”

Tydingco-Gatewood, who later presided over the case, then dismissed Guanlao’s claims with prejudice.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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