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Case Name Siddiqui v. Immigration and Customs Enforcement IM-MN-0007
Docket / Court 0:20-cv-00793 ( D. Minn. )
State/Territory Minnesota
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Case Summary
This case centers on the government’s obligations to the medical needs of immigration detainees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Petitioners were a large group of immigrant detainees held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Sherburne County Jail in Elk River, MN. As ... read more >
This case centers on the government’s obligations to the medical needs of immigration detainees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Petitioners were a large group of immigrant detainees held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Sherburne County Jail in Elk River, MN. As plaintiffs constructed the suit, they each fell into one of two groups: those at high risk of severe illness or death if they contracted COVID-19 and those who were generally at risk from COVID-19.

On March 24, 2020, the plaintiffs filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 8 U.S.C. § 1226(a). Their initial petition was pro se, but the court appointed private counsel a week or so later. We do not have the full file, but presumably counsel rewrote the petition; an amended version was filed on April 6, asserting two claims: (1) that the defendants acted with deliberate indifference to the plaintiffs’ health, safety, and well-being by continuing to detain them at Sherburne County Jail, in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment right to substantive due process; and (2) that plaintiffs’ continued detention amidst the COVID-19 pandemic subjected them to a heightened risk of illness and death, which amounted to unlawful punishment in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiffs sought an order from the court ordering their immediate release in the form of a Writ of Habeas Corpus or, in the alternative, in the form of an injunction. Plaintiffs also sought a declaration that their continued detention was a violation of their constitutional due process rights.

The case was referred to U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Cowan Wright for a report and recommendation. Judge Wright issued the report and recommendation on April 28, 2020, recommending against emergency relief, because Sherburne County Jail had implemented policies to deal with the spread of COVID-19 despite the fact there had been no reported cases there. Judge Wright wrote that this cast doubt on the imminence of danger to the petitioners and reduced the likelihood that they would succeed on the merits of their claim, which she noted would be adjudicated under a “deliberate indifference” standard according to Eight Circuit precedent. Judge Wright also opined the public interest in enforcing U.S. immigration laws weighed against the petitioners.

Judge Nancy Brasel of the US District Court for the District of Minnesota agreed with the Report and Recommendation on May 27, 2020. Judge Brasel added that the District Court for the District of Minnesota lacked jurisdiction to challenge discretionary detention decisions of Immigration Judges (see 8 U.S.C. §§ 1226(a), 1226(e), 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii)). However, Judge Brasel rejected the government’s claim that the writ of habeas corpus did not apply to this situation, noting that the core of Plaintiffs’ claims was that their continued detention itself was unconstitutional.

On August 20, 2020, petitioners—again without counsel because the appointment of counsel was for the district court only—appealed the order adopting the report and recommendation to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals; in November, they sought expedited review. On December 22, 2020, the Eighth Circuit summarily affirmed the lower court decision in an unpublished opinion and denied the motion for expedited appeal as moot (2020 WL 8618021). Mail sent from the Eighth Circuit to the petitioners in December was returned in January and February as being undeliverable – the reason being that petitioners had been deported by ICE in the interim. While technically the appeal was only on the denial of emergency relief, in light of the fact that the petitioners have been deported and that the courts found no likelihood of success on the merits, the case is closed.

John Duffield - 06/22/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
COVID-19
Mitigation Denied
Mitigation Requested
Release Denied
Release Requested
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Conditions of confinement
Habeas Corpus
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Detention - conditions
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Habeas
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Defendant(s) US Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Plaintiff Description Sixty-eight immigration detainees held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the Sherburne County Jail (Elk River, MN). All plaintiffs claimed to fall into one of two groups: those at high risk of severe illness or death if they contracted COVID-19 and those who were generally at risk from COVID-19.
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filed 03/24/2020
Case Closing Year 2020
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
D. Minn.
02/22/2021
0:20-cv-00793-NEB-ECW
IM-MN-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Minn.
04/28/2020
Report and Recommendation [ECF# 94] (2020 WL 2750836)
IM-MN-0007-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Minn.
05/27/2020
Amended Order Accepting Report and Recommendation [ECF# 126] (2020 WL 2750109)
IM-MN-0007-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Minn.
08/11/2020
Order Accepting Report and Recommendation [ECF# 149] (2020 WL 4593889)
IM-MN-0007-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Brasel, Nancy Ellen (D. Minn.) show/hide docs
IM-MN-0007-0001 | IM-MN-0007-0003 | IM-MN-0007-9000
Cowan Wright, Elizabeth Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
IM-MN-0007-0002 | IM-MN-0007-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Goetz, Frederick (Minnesota) show/hide docs
IM-MN-0007-9000
LaCanne, Beth Louise (Minnesota) show/hide docs
IM-MN-0007-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bildtsen, Ann M (Minnesota) show/hide docs
IM-MN-0007-9000
Fuller, David W. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
IM-MN-0007-9000
Heaney, Kathleen (Minnesota) show/hide docs
IM-MN-0007-9000
Repp, Liles Harvey (Minnesota) show/hide docs
IM-MN-0007-9000
Sime, Timothy (Minnesota) show/hide docs
IM-MN-0007-9000
Voss, Ana H. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
IM-MN-0007-9000
Other Lawyers Bixby-Lawson, Alyssa N (Texas) show/hide docs
IM-MN-0007-9000
Levish, Ellen (Minnesota) show/hide docs
IM-MN-0007-9000
Manske, William E (Minnesota) show/hide docs
IM-MN-0007-9000
Olson, Rajin Singh (Minnesota) show/hide docs
IM-MN-0007-9000

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