Jamal Kiyemba, et al. v. Barack H. Obama, et al.Appeals Court: Only Immigration Officials, Not A
Federal Judge, Can Transfer Detainees
From Guantanamo Bay to U.S. Soil
February 18, 2009
A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. overturned a lower court opinion that directed 17 Guantanamo Bay detainees be transferred to the United States for prosecution in federal courts.
The detainees are known as ethnic Uighurs, members of a Turkic Muslim minority in Xinjiang, a western Chinese province.
In an 18-page opinion, the court's majority concludes that only immigration officials — not judges — have legal authority to admit non-U.S. citizens loocated outside the United States into the country.
The majority explains that:
"…the bottom line is clear. Aliens [like the detainees] are not eligible for admission into the United States unless they have applied for admission."
The dissenting judge disagreed, concluding that:
Today the court nevertheless appears to conclude that a habeas court lacks authority to order that a non-“enemy combatant” alien be released into the country (as distinct from be admitted under the immigration laws) when the Executive [Branch] can point to no legal justification for detention and to no foreseeable path of release.
You can read the majority and dissenting opinions below: