Luis Enrique Sanchez, AKA Enrique Cruz Sanchez, AKA Luis Llamas Sanchez, AKA Luis Charles Sanchez, AKA Enrique Sanchez Cruz, AKA Luis Enrique Sanchez Llamas, Petitioner,
Jefferson B. Sessions III, Attorney General, Respondent.
and Submitted March 8, 2017 Pasadena, California
Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration
Appeals Agency No. A076-359-028
Wolfgang Gehart (argued), Lourdes Barrera Haley, Elena
Yampolsky, and Carlos Vellanoweth, Vellanoweth & Gehart
LLP, Los Angeles, California, for Petitioner.
Ramnitz (argued), Attorney; Jennifer P. Levings, Senior
Litigation Counsel; Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil
Division, United States Department of Justice, Washington,
D.C.; for Respondent.
Before: Harry Pregerson, Richard A. Paez, and Morgan B.
Christen, Circuit Judges.
panel granted, reversed, and remanded Luis Enrique
Sanchez's petition for review of the Board of Immigration
Appeals' decision affirming an immigration judge's
decision denying Sanchez's motion to suppress evidence of
his alienage and ordering his removal.
panel held that Coast Guard officers who detained Sanchez
committed an egregious Fourth Amendment violation because
they seized Sanchez based on his Latino ethnicity alone.
Accordingly, the panel held that the immigration judge erred
in failing to suppress the Form I-213 (Record of
Deportable/Inadmissible Alien), which was prepared after his
immigration arrest and which the Government introduced to
establish Sanchez's alienage and entry without
inspection. The panel also concluded that Sanchez was not
seized at the United States border, where Fourth Amendment
protections are lower.
panel further held that, because Coast Guard officers
detained Sanchez solely on the basis of his Latino ethnicity,
the officers violated an immigration regulation, 8 C.F.R.
§ 287.8(b(2), which provides that an immigration officer
may briefly detain an individual only if the officer has
"reasonable suspicion, based on specific articulable
facts" that the person is engaged in an offense or is an
alien illegally in the United States. Accordingly, the panel
held that Sanchez's removal proceedings must be
terminated based on the regulatory violation because the
regulation is designed to benefit Sanchez, and Sanchez was
prejudiced by the violation.
the panel concluded Sanchez's proceedings should have
been terminated based on the regulatory violation, the panel
did not reach the question whether Sanchez's
previously-submitted Family Unity Benefits and Employment
applications, which the Government also introduced to
establish alienage, are indirect fruits of the poisonous
tree. The panel granted Sanchez's petition for review and
remanded to the Board with instructions to terminate
Sanchez's removal proceedings.
Judge Pregerson wrote separately to explain why it is unfair
for the Government to encourage noncitizens to apply for
immigration relief, and later use statements in those relief
applications against them in removal proceedings. Judge
Pregerson expressed concern about the Government's
argument that the exclusionary rule does not apply to
Sanchez's Family Unity Benefits and Employment
Authorization applications because they predated the
egregious constitutional violation. He wrote that
categorically exempting pre-existing applications from the
exclusionary rule in this way allows law enforcement to
unconstitutionally round up migrant-looking individuals,
elicit their names, and then search through Government
databases to discover incriminating information in
preexisting immigration records.
Judge Christen agreed that the case did not concern a border
stop, noting that the Coast Guard did not seize Sanchez at a
port of entry and that the evidence did not show that
Sanchez's boat had sailed from international waters.
Judge Christen also agreed that Sanchez's removal
proceedings must be terminated based on the regulatory
PREGERSON, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
case is about Luis Sanchez, a small boat owner, who took some
friends on a fishing trip within United States territorial
waters, and ended up in removal proceedings before an
immigration judge ("IJ") under section 240 of the
Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229a.
what happened: Sanchez's small boat was dead in the water
because of engine failure near Channel Islands Harbor in
Oxnard, California. His friend issued a distress call, and
responding United States Coast Guard officers towed
Sanchez's boat into Channel Islands Harbor, a private
recreational harbor. When they arrived at Channel Islands
Harbor, eight Coast Guard officers were waiting for Sanchez
and his companions. The Coast Guard officers immediately
detained, frisked, and arrested Sanchez and his companions.
The Coast Guard officers contacted Customs and Border
Protection because the officers suspected that Sanchez and
his companions were "undocumented worker aliens."
Sanchez was then placed in removal proceedings. The matter
before us is limited to Sanchez's removal proceedings.
removal proceedings before the IJ, the Government sought to
establish Sanchez's alienage and his entry into the
United States without inspection by introducing: (1) a Form
I-213 (Record of Deportable/Inadmissible Alien) that was
prepared by a Customs and Border Protection officer after
Sanchez's immigration arrest and (2) Sanchez's Family
Unity Benefits and Employment Authorization applications.
removal hearing before the IJ, Sanchez moved to suppress the
Form I-213 and the Family Unity Benefits and Employment
Authorization applications as the fruits of an egregious
Fourth Amendment violation. Sanchez argued that the Coast
Guard officers egregiously violated his Fourth Amendment
rights by detaining him based on his Latino ethnicity alone.
The IJ denied Sanchez's motion to suppress and ordered
Sanchez removed to Mexico. The Board of Immigration Appeals
("BIA") affirmed. This Petition for Review timely
grant Sanchez's Petition for Review. We conclude that the
Coast Guard officers committed an egregious Fourth Amendment
violation and violated an immigration regulation because they
seized Sanchez based on his Latino ethnicity alone. Thus, we
hold that the IJ erred in failing to suppress the Form I-213,
but do not reach the question of the Family Unity Benefits
and Employment Authorization applications. Additionally,
because Sanchez has shown that the Government violated its
own regulation that is designed to benefit Sanchez, and that
Sanchez was prejudiced by the violation, we hold that
Sanchez's removal proceedings must be terminated.
Enrique Sanchez's Immigration History
Enrique Sanchez is forty-five years old. He was born in, and
is a citizen of, Mexico. He entered the United States without
inspection in March 1988 when he was seventeen years old. For
the last three decades - most of his life - he has lived in
Ventura County, California.
11, 2004, Sanchez submitted Family Unity Benefits and
Employment Authorization applications to the United States
Citizenship and Immigration Service ("USCIS").
USCIS granted Sanchez Family Unity Benefits, which granted
him authorization to reside and work in the country, through
his father. Sanchez's Benefits
expired on May 11, 2006. Sanchez applied for an extension of
his Benefits on December 2, 2008. However, on May 28, 2009,
USCIS denied Sanchez's applications because Sanchez had
three misdemeanor convictions for violations of
California's Vehicle Code, and was therefore ineligible
for Family Unity Benefits. 8 C.F.R. § 236.13(b).
Trip and Immigration Arrest
February 25, 2010, Sanchez, two adult Latino friends, and one
of the friend's 14-month-old son took a fishing trip.
Using Sanchez's small pleasure boat, they departed from
the Channel Islands Harbor, a recreational harbor near Port
Hueneme in Oxnard, California. Sanchez declared that he and
his companions did not travel outside United States
territorial waters; indeed, that they did not travel more
than two or three miles from the harbor. See
Nat'l Oceanic & Atmospheric Admin., U.S. Maritime
Limits and Boundaries,
https://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/csdl/ mbound.htm (Sept.
13, 2013) (describing that territorial waters extend to 12
thirty minutes into the fishing trip, the small boat's
engines lost power and the boat was dead in the water. One of
Sanchez's friends on the boat called 911 to request a tow
back to the recreational harbor. The U.S. Coast Guard (the
"Coast Guard") responded. Upon reaching the boat,
the Coast Guard officers towed Sanchez's boat back to
Channel Islands Harbor.
arriving at Channel Islands Harbor around 5:00 p.m.,
approximately eight Coast Guard officers were waiting onshore
for Sanchez and his companions. Once Sanchez and his
companions disembarked the boat, the Coast Guard officers
immediately detained and frisked them. The Coast Guard
officers demanded that Sanchez and his companions hand over
their identifications and belongings. Sanchez handed his
driver's license to a Coast Guard officer.
Coast Guard officers told Sanchez and his companions that
they were not allowed to leave. When Sanchez asked why the
group was not allowed to leave, a Coast Guard officer told
Sanchez not to ask any questions and to wait for someone else
to speak with him. Sanchez testified that the Coast Guard
officers asked him only two questions, which he answered: (1)
what is your name? and (2) where do you live?
Guard officer could not "establish positive identity or
nationality" of Sanchez. Without any other information, the Coast
Guard officers notified U.S. Customs and Border Protection to
report "the possibility of 4 undocumented worker
two hours later, Customs and Border Protection officers
arrived at Channel Islands Harbor and detained the men for
two more hours, during which time someone arrived to pick up
the infant. Customs and Border Protection officers then
transported Sanchez and the two adult Latino males to a
Customs and Border Protection facility. The Customs and
Border Protection officers detained and interrogated Sanchez,
strip searched him, and retained his identification and
wallet. Through this questioning, Customs and Border
Protection officers obtained information about Sanchez's
alienage and entry into the United States. Customs and Border
Protection released Sanchez later that night.
and Border Protection Officer Carlos Rubio prepared a Form
I-213 (Record of Deportable/Inadmissible Alien) for Sanchez. The Form I-213 included
Sanchez's admission that he was undocumented and had
entered the United States without inspection. The Form I-213
also stated that the Coast Guard officers suspected that
Sanchez was an "undocumented worker alien, "
detained Sanchez, and thereafter contacted Customs and Border