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Reyna v. Hott

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

April 16, 2019

ARELI VEGA REYNA, as next friend of J.F.G., K.G., J.D.V. and J.D.V., all minor children; MACARIO DIAZ MORALES; KAREN VITELA, as next friend of M.V.R.C., a minor; HUMBERTO RAMOS RAYGOZA; ADELA MEJIA, as next friend of K.D.R.M., a minor, Plaintiffs - Appellants,
v.
RUSSELL HOTT, in his official capacity as Director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Virginia Field Office; RONALD D. VITIELLO, in his official capacity as Acting Director of the Department of Homeland Security; ELAINE C. DUKE, in her official capacity as Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Defendants - Appellees. JACK P. SHONKOFF, M.D.; JAMES A. COAN, Ph.D.; J.H. PATE SKENE, J.D., Ph.D.; LINDA C. MAYES, M.D.; JOSEPH WOOLSTON, M.D.; AMERICAN ACADEMY OF CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRY; AMERICAN PSYCHOANALYTIC ASSOCIATION; CAPITAL AREA IMMIGRANTS' RIGHTS COALITION, Amici Supporting Appellant.

          Argued: December 12, 2018

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Alexandria. Liam O'Grady, District Judge. (1:17-cv-01192-LO-TCB)

         ARGUED:

          Nicholas Richard Klaiber, Richmond, Virginia, for Appellants.

          Julian Michael Kurz, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          Simon Y. Sandoval-Moshenberg, Rebecca R. Wolozin, Falls Church, Virginia, Angela Adair Ciolfi, LEGAL AID JUSTICE CENTER, Charlottesville, Virginia, for Appellants.

          Joseph H. Hunt, Assistant Attorney General, William C. Peachey, Director, Jeffrey S. Robins, Assistant Director, District Court Section, Office of Immigration Litigation, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Appellees.

          Erik W. Snapp, Christopher S. Burrichter, Chicago, Illinois, G. Eric Brunstad, Jr., DECHERT LLP, Hartford, Connecticut, for Amici Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., James A. Coan, Ph.D., J.H. Pate Skene, J.D., Ph.D., Linda C. Mayes, M.D., Joseph Woolston, M.D., the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Psychoanalytic Association.

          Adina Appelbaum, Claudia Cubas, David Laing, CAPITAL AREA IMMIGRANTS' RIGHTS COALITION, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition.

          Before NIEMEYER, FLOYD, and RICHARDSON, Circuit Judges.

          NIEMEYER, CIRCUIT JUDGE

         Macario Diaz Morales and Humberto Ramos Raygoza, who are both aliens, were arrested and detained in Farmville, Virginia, by Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") under 8 U.S.C. § 1226(a), pending removal for being in the United States without inspection or admission. They, along with their children, commenced this action against officials of ICE and the Department of Homeland Security, challenging their transfer or anticipated transfer from ICE's detention facility in Farmville, Virginia, to its facility in Livingston, Texas, or another facility out of State. They alleged that such transfers "separat[e] [them] from their children and mak[e] it impossible for children to have access to their parents or to visit them" and therefore violate their "substantive due process right to family unity" and their "procedural due process right to notice and an opportunity to be heard" before such transfers, in violation of the Fifth Amendment. Because ICE "frequently transfers detainees among its detention facilities," they also sought to represent a nationwide class of detainees and their children. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, and Raygoza additionally sought habeas relief based on the same allegations.

         ICE and the Department of Homeland Security (collectively, "the government") filed a motion to dismiss under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), contending (1) that, by reason of 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii), the court did not have jurisdiction to review such discretionary decisions; (2) that the substantive right to "family unity" does not exist; and (3) that the plaintiffs have no liberty interest protected by procedural due process.

         While the district court rejected the government's jurisdictional argument, it granted the motion to dismiss, concluding that the plaintiffs had not sufficiently alleged that the government's transfer practices violated a substantive due process right. And without a protectable liberty interest, the court concluded, the plaintiffs were not denied procedural due process. ...


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