Ernest Odei v. DHS

In the United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit ____________________ No. 18-3105 ERNEST A. ODEI and SPIRIT OF GRACE OUTREACH, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, et al., Defendants-Appellees. ____________________ Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 17-cv-06019 — Andrea R. Wood, Judge. ____________________ ARGUED APRIL 12, 2019 — DECIDED SEPTEMBER 10, 2019 ____________________ Before FLAUM, EASTERBROOK, and SYKES, Circuit Judges. SYKES, Circuit Judge. Ernest Odei traveled from his native Ghana to the United States in 2017 to meet with academic advisors and to perform missionary work. When he arrived in Chicago, border patrol agents barred his entry because he did not have the proper visa. After a short detention, immi- gration authorities gave Odei the option to withdraw his 2 No. 18-3105 application for admission and return to Ghana. He chose to do so, but several months later he brought this lawsuit challenging the inadmissibility determination. The district court dismissed the case for lack of jurisdic- tion under 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(A), which bars judicial review of any “order of removal pursuant to” the expedited removal procedure in 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(1)(A)(i). Odei argues that the jurisdictional bar does not apply because it refers only to “order[s] of removal” and there was no order of removal here because he withdrew his application for admission. Under the relevant statutory definitions, howev- er, an “order of removal” refers to both an order to remove as well as an order that an alien is removable. Odei is challeng- ing the latter, so the jurisdictional bar applies. I. Background Odei is a pastor of a Christian church in Ghana and a founding board member of the Spirit of Grace Outreach, a nonprofit religious group in the United States. He is also a Ph.D. candidate in an online educational program sponsored by a Christian university in Tennessee. In 2017 Spirit of Grace invited him to visit the United States to participate in its religious activities. Odei also planned to speak at church- es and youth groups, perform missionary work, and meet with his academic advisors at the university. Before his trip Odei applied for a B-1/B-2 visa, which the U.S. Consulate in Ghana approved. When Odei arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, agents of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency questioned him about his trip. They eventually determined that his visa was invalid for his intended mis- No. 18-3105 3 sionary and academic purposes, which meant he was inad- missible under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(7). They found him inad- missible and canceled the visa. They did not immediately remove him, however, because he answered “yes” when asked if he feared returning to Ghana. They transferred him to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and he was held in the McHenry County Jail. A week later Odei dropped his asylum claim. That would normally require immediate removal under § 1225(b)(1), but the Department of Homeland Security gave Odei the opportuni- ...

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