Ninth Circuit denies Guanlao’s emergency motion


Rosemond Santos

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has denied Amalia Abo Guanlao’s emergency motion to suspend a federal court order that granted U.S. Immigration and Customs officials’ request to dissolve the court’s previous order that stopped a judge’s removal order against her.

Ninth Circuit judges Barry G. Silverman and Milan D. Smith Jr. said the briefing schedule established previously remains in effect pertaining to Guanlao’s appeal.

The Ninth Circuit judges did not indicate the reason why they denied Guanlao’s emergency motion.

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 Frances M. Tydingco-Gatewood also denied Guanlao’s motion to a stay of her deportation.

Guanlao is a Filipino mother of two minor U.S. citizen children who has been fighting an immigration court’s order of her removal since 2013.

In her ruling, Tydingco-Gatewood said that without a reason to maintain the stay originally imposed by U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona, the ICE officials’ motion to dissolve the stay is granted.

The judge said Guanlao has not made any specific arguments regarding the public interest or harm to the opposing parties.

According to court records, on Sept. 10, 2013, an immigration judge found that Guanlao was removable as an alien, being without a valid immigrant visa or entry document, and ordered her removed to the Philippines.

Guanlao appealed the judge’s decision to the Board of Appeals. 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.”

Aside from naming then-U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson as respondent, Guanlao also sued several U.S. immigration officials.

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, Manglona entered a stay of removal “while the court hears the petition on the merits.”

In December 2017, respondents moved to dismiss Guanlao’s second amended petition and also requested that the court grant the respondents’ motion to dismiss.

Tydingco-Gatewood then dismissed Guanlao’s claims with prejudice. However, she did not explicitly address the stay of removal.

In light of the court’s dismissal of the claims,ICE officials requested an order explicitly dissolving the stay of removal entered in 2016.

Guanlao argued that she will suffer irreparable harm if a stay pending appeal is not issued because she and her entire family will need to relocate to the Philippines after spending 24 years on Saipan.

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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