Mirmehdi v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 11-03-2011
  • Case #: 09-55846
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge O'Scannlain for the Court; Circuit Judge Alarcón; Circuit Judge Silverman concurring
  • Full Text Opinion

Illegal immigrants having used alternative remedies are not entitled to money damages for constitutional violations.

Four Iranian citizens (collectively the "Mirmehdis") had been illegally working and living within the United States since 1978. In 1999 they were detained for fraudulent immigration. The Mirmehdis were released on bond in 2000, but in 2001 their bonds were revoked when their names were found on a list known as the "L.A. Cell Form." The Form, the government maintains, lists "members, affiliates, and supporters" of the Mujahedin-e Khalq ("MEK"), an anti-Iranian terrorist group. The Mirmehdis' contended that the list was of attendees to a protest hosted by the National Council of Resistance of Iran ("NCRI"), which they attended prior to the classification that listed MEK as a terrorist organization affiliated with the NCRI. The Mirmehdis were granted a withholding of removal as they were able to demonstrate a "likelihood of mistreatment if removed to Iran, and because the government failed to prove they were engaged in terrorism." The Mirmehdis were released in 2005 and subsequently brought suit for damages alleging "unlawful detention, inhumane detention conditions, witness intimidation, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress." In examining whether to extend Bivens claims "in order for illegal immigrants to recover for unlawful detention during deportation proceedings," the Court held that deportation proceedings would constitute a "relevant 'environment of fact and law' in which to 'decide whether to recognize a Bivens remedy.'" After identifying deportation proceedings as the appropriate context, the Court applied the Supreme Court's test from Wilkie to determine whether there was "'any alternative, existing process for protecting' the [Mirmehdis'] interests." The Court declined to extend Bivens, finding extensive remedial procedures available and foreign policy considerations implicated. The Ninth Circuit further dismissed the Mirmehdis' claims of witness intimidation, false imprisonment, and denial of their motion to amend their complaint. AFFIRMED.

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