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8 U.S. Code § 1226a - Mandatory detention of suspected terrorists; habeas corpus; judicial review

(a) Detention of terrorist aliens
(1) Custody

The Attorney General shall take into custody any alien who is certified under paragraph (3).

(2) Release

Except as provided in paragraphs (5) and (6), the Attorney General shall maintain custody of such an alien until the alien is removed from the United States. Except as provided in paragraph (6), such custody shall be maintained irrespective of any relief from removal for which the alien may be eligible, or any relief from removal granted the alien, until the Attorney General determines that the alien is no longer an alien who may be certified under paragraph (3). If the alien is finally determined not to be removable, detention pursuant to this subsection shall terminate.

(3) CertificationThe Attorney General may certify an alien under this paragraph if the Attorney General has reasonable grounds to believe that the alien—
is engaged in any other activity that endangers the national security of the United States.
(4) Nondelegation

The Attorney General may delegate the authority provided under paragraph (3) only to the Deputy Attorney General. The Deputy Attorney General may not delegate such authority.

(5) Commencement of proceedings

The Attorney General shall place an alien detained under paragraph (1) in removal proceedings, or shall charge the alien with a criminal offense, not later than 7 days after the commencement of such detention. If the requirement of the preceding sentence is not satisfied, the Attorney General shall release the alien.

(6) Limitation on indefinite detention

An alien detained solely under paragraph (1) who has not been removed under section 1231(a)(1)(A) of this title, and whose removal is unlikely in the reasonably foreseeable future, may be detained for additional periods of up to six months only if the release of the alien will threaten the national security of the United States or the safety of the community or any person.

(7) Review of certification

The Attorney General shall review the certification made under paragraph (3) every 6 months. If the Attorney General determines, in the Attorney General’s discretion, that the certification should be revoked, the alien may be released on such conditions as the Attorney General deems appropriate, unless such release is otherwise prohibited by law. The alien may request each 6 months in writing that the Attorney General reconsider the certification and may submit documents or other evidence in support of that request.

(b) Habeas corpus and judicial review
(1) In general

Judicial review of any action or decision relating to this section (including judicial review of the merits of a determination made under subsection (a)(3) or (a)(6)) is available exclusively in habeas corpus proceedings consistent with this subsection. Except as provided in the preceding sentence, no court shall have jurisdiction to review, by habeas corpus petition or otherwise, any such action or decision.

(2) Application
(A) In generalNotwithstanding any other provision of law, including section 2241(a) of title 28, habeas corpus proceedings described in paragraph (1) may be initiated only by an application filed with—
the Supreme Court;
any justice of the Supreme Court;
any circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; or
any district court otherwise having jurisdiction to entertain it.
(B) Application transfer

Section 2241(b) of title 28 shall apply to an application for a writ of habeas corpus described in subparagraph (A).

(3) Appeals

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, including section 2253 of title 28, in habeas corpus proceedings described in paragraph (1) before a circuit or district judge, the final order shall be subject to review, on appeal, by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. There shall be no right of appeal in such proceedings to any other circuit court of appeals.

(4) Rule of decision

The law applied by the Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit shall be regarded as the rule of decision in habeas corpus proceedings described in paragraph (1).

(c) Statutory construction

The provisions of this section shall not be applicable to any other provision of this chapter.

(June 27, 1952, ch. 477, title II, ch. 4, § 236A, as added Pub. L. 107–56, title IV, § 412(a), Oct. 26, 2001, 115 Stat. 350.)
Editorial Notes
References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (c), was in the original, “this Act”, meaning act June 27, 1952, ch. 477, 66 Stat. 163, known as the Immigration and Nationality Act, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1101 of this title and Tables.

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Abolition of Immigration and Naturalization Service and Transfer of Functions

For abolition of Immigration and Naturalization Service, transfer of functions, and treatment of related references, see note set out under section 1551 of this title.


Pub. L. 107–56, title IV, § 412(c), Oct. 26, 2001, 115 Stat. 352, provided that:

“Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 26, 2001], and every 6 months thereafter, the Attorney General shall submit a report to the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate, with respect to the reporting period, on—
the number of aliens certified under section 236A(a)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act [8 U.S.C. 1226a(a)(3)], as added by subsection (a);
the grounds for such certifications;
the nationalities of the aliens so certified;
the length of the detention for each alien so certified; and
“(5) the number of aliens so certified who—
were granted any form of relief from removal;
were removed;
the Attorney General has determined are no longer aliens who may be so certified; or
were released from detention.”