Petitioner also adds claims in her complaint
Amalia Abo Guanlao, a Filipino mother who has been in the CNMI for 22 years now and has two minor U.S. citizen children, has amended her court action to avoid being separated from her family by adding claims and defendants, including U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.
Guanlao, through counsel Stephen C. Woodruff, filed on Friday before the U.S. District Court for the NMI, an amended petition for writ of habeas corpus and complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief.
Guanlao’s first court action was a petition for writ of habeas corpus, in which she named only three defendants—Immigration and Customs Enforcement supervisory detention and deportation officer Gerald Zedde, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Enforcement and Removal Operations acting supervisor M. Samaniego, and ICE immigration officer G. Andersen.
In the amended court action, aside from Zedde, Samaniego, and Andersen, Guanlao added as defendants—DHS Secretary Johnson, U.S. AG Lynch, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services district director David Gulick, USCIS/DHS Guam/CNMI field office director Stephen P. Green, USCIS/DHS Guam/CNMI acting field office director Irene Adame, USCIS/DHS California Service Center directors Rosemary Langley Melville and Kathy A. Baran, and USCIS/DHS California Service Center acting director Donna P. Campagnolo.
In Guanlao’s original petition, Woodruff requested the federal court to determine the legality of Guanlao’s continued detention and intended removal from the U.S. or the CNMI. Woodruff asked the court to immediately order a stay of removal during the pendency of this case as her removal would result in irreparable harm to her and her two U.S. citizen children.
Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has stayed the pending court’s order to remove Guanlao, while the court hears the petition on the merits. Manglona said she is mindful of the sensitive nature of these proceedings and will expedite the process.
In the amended court action, Woodruff asked the court to rule that Guanlao is entitled to a writ of habeas corpus on account of failure and refusal by respondents to exercise discretion where required by law and/or policy to do so.
Woodruff asserted that Guanlao’s constructive custody for the purpose of her forced physical removal from the U.S. is contrary to statutory right and in derogation of her constitutional right to due process of law.
The lawyer said Guanlao is entitled to declaratory judgment that she was lawfully present in the CNMI as of Nov. 27-28, 2009 and therefore entitled pursuant to the Consolidated Natural Resources Act to continue to live and work in the CNMI at least until June 9, 2011.
Woodruff said his client is entitled to declaratory judgment that she was lawfully present in the CNMI as of Nov. 27-28, 2009 pursuant to the grant of umbrella permit by order of the CNMI Attorney General and therefore entitled pursuant to the CNRA to continue to live and work in the CNMI through Nov. 27, 2011.
The lawyer said the petitioner is entitled to an order reopening the period of her to file a petition for review with the Court of Appeals respecting the May 14, 2015 Board of Immigration of Appeals final order of removal.
He said Guanlao is entitled to an order reopening the 90-day period in which she may file motions to reopen with the BIA or the Immigration Court.
Woodruff asked the court to continue in effect the stay of Guanlao’s removal during the pendency of this case without which she could be removed, resulting in irreparable harm to both Guanlao and her two U.S citizen children.
Guanlao was placed in removal proceedings by the DHS in March 2011. On Sept. 10, 2013, the immigration judge ordered her removal.
Guanlao filed an appeal, citing that her then-counsel failed to point out the ineffective assistance of her other former counsel, and failed to challenge the jurisdiction to institute removal proceedings, among other things.
In May 2015, the BIA dismissed the appeal. She filed motions to reopen and for stay of removal, but BIA denied the motions in March 2016.