Is the Attorney General the Custodian of An Ins Detainee – Personal Jurisdiction and the Immediate Custodian Rule in Immigration-Related Habeas Actions

Introduction

Habeas corpus, the “Great Writ,” allows those in government custody to challenge the legality of their confinement. Individuals may petition federal courts for writs of habeas corpus to review such diverse forms of custody as state court criminal sentences, military draft orders, and orders of deportation. For those in the custody of the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS), the writ holds particular significance. Congress has severely curtailed judicial review of most immigration matters, leaving habeas corpus as the only way for many INS detainees to be heard by a federal court. The Supreme Court has recently reaffirmed the central importance of habeas corpus as a means of challenging deportation orders.

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