Removal order vs Guanlao goes ahead


The federal court granted Monday U.S. Immigration and Customs officials’ motion to dissolve the court’s previous order that suspended an immigration judge’s removal order against Amalia Abo Guanlao.

Guanlao, a Filipino mother of two minor U.S. citizen children, has been fighting against a 2013 immigration court’s order for her removal.

U.S. District Court for the NMI designated Judge Frances M. Tydingco-Gatewood also denied Guanlao’s motion to a stay pending appeal of the proceedings in federal court pending her appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Tydingco-Gatewood said absent a reason to maintain the stay originally imposed by U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona, ICE officials’ motion to dissolve the stay is granted.

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 judge’s decision. She lost her case before the immigration court.

In June 2016, she filed a 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.”

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 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 request an order explicitly dissolving the stay of removal entered in 2016.

Guanlao, through counsel Rosemond Santos, 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.

In granting respondents’ motion to dissolve stay, Tydingco-Gatewood said Guanlao will not be separated from family; will be able to receive the medical care she needs in her home country, the Philippines; and has not specified any economic hardship.

The judge said Guanlao has also not alleged that she will be mistreated if she returns to the Philippines.

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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