Almost out

Passport immigration stampA Barbadian awaiting deportation from the United States after being convicted and jailed for drug possession, has lost his latest round of court action against two senior American government officials.

But Ryan Gittens, who alleged he entered the US as a legal permanent resident in 1984 and lost his final Board of Immigration Appeal six months ago, has been given time to fight against a Georgia judge’s decision that he has no right or need to personally appear in court to plead his case.

Once that matter is resolved, however, the Bajan is likely to be sent back here, since as of May 20 he has been released from custody and is awaiting deportation.

It was a year ago that Gittens brought a petition against US Attorney General Eric Holder in the US District Court of New York as he sought to be declared a US national.

At the time he blamed the American Immigration and Naturalisation Service for a number of mishaps, which eventually led to his missing the chance to be interviewed as part of his application for naturalisation, and applied for the AG to issue an order according him such status.

But Chief District Judge Carol Bagley Amon denied Gittens’ application for relief and ordered the case closed.

Having lost that court case though, the Barbadian initiated a number of other legal actions, including a motion against Holder and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, which has now also been dismissed.

Gittens had challenged the legality of his detention by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and was subsequently released from custody under an order of supervision pending his deportation.

The court said Gitten’s motion to appear in court was recently dismissed because while he was being detained when it was filed, he was no longer in custody when it eventually reached court, which meant it was now “moot”.

“In this case, when petitioner filed the current application for habeas corpus relief, his order of removal was not administratively final…,” the relevant court documents stated.

“Because he had been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude and was convicted of a crime involving trafficking of a controlled substance at the time he filed his application, [Gittens] petition failed to state a recognisable claim for habeas corpus relief.

“As of May 20, 2013, [Gittens] has been released from custody and is awaiting deportation. [Gittens] has been released from the physical custody of ICE. Furthermore, [Gittens] is not contesting the conditions of his supervised release such that this court could maintain jurisdiction over his habeas petition. Since the Court can no longer give [Gittens] any meaningful relief, the case is moot and ‘dismissal is required because mootness is jurisdictional’,” the court added.

In dismissing the application, however, the court said Gittens had the right to “file a new petition in the future if a change in his circumstances occurs”, and “may serve and file written objections to this recommendation”. (SC)

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