FOR confiscating and not returning his Russian passport, Denis Uvarov, 33, has filed another lawsuit against officials of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and its Enforcement Removal Operations or ERO on Saipan for violating his rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Denis Uvarov

Denis Uvarov

Uvarov, who first arrived on island as a tourist in November 2017, named as defendants local ICE special agent Everette Route, his supervisor Mark Yamanaka, ICE and ERO executive associate director Henry Lucero and the current senior official performing the duties of ICE director, Jonathan Fahey.

Uvarov sued the individuals in their official capacities.

He wants the District Court for the NMI to rule that the ICE practice of confiscating foreign passports, as well as retaining foreigners in the U.S. are “violations of the U.S. Constitution, the Civil Rights Act, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and commonsense.”

Uvarov said such practices “are more in line with the practices of ISIS, Nazi Gestapo, KGB, and of a Banana Republic.”

He is asking the court to grant his motion for preliminary injunction and to direct/oblige the Saipan ICE field office to immediately return his Russian passport without any conditions.

Uvarov, who represented himself, stated that on June 7, 2018, during an interview at Saipan ICE office, special agent Route illegally confiscated his only identification and travel document — his Russian passport.

“This action is a violation of my constitutional right of freedom of movement and also the Civil rights Act,” said Uvarov.

“Without a passport I cannot leave CNMI,” he added.

“No charges were brought against me, no Judge, and no jury [has] decided to restrict my movement,” Uvarov said.

He added that the action taken by ICE is a violation of his rights and “unusual and cruel.”

“ICE keeps me here as a hostage,” Uvarov said.

In July 2020, he said he decided to leave the CNMI and no longer apply for political asylum.

“In order to obtain my travel document I applied to…ICE Saipan office in person but was told to contact USCIS Los Angeles asylum office,” he said.

He then filed his request with the USCIS Los Angeles asylum office in July 2020 by regular post and multiple emails.

He said he received a reply on Sept. 15, 2020 by email and was informed that “they do not know when they will be able to organize a dismissal interview, which is a necessary ‘procedure’ for returning my passport.”

Uvarov said he has also sent emails to the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. attorney general, and the CNMI immigration court for the return his passport.

“I received no response to my requests,” Uvarov said.

“Six months is more than enough time to return a person’s passport if there is a desire to do so,” he added.

“This situation endangers my life and health because I don’t have a work permit despite filing [an Employment Authorization Document application] almost two years ago. I do not receive any help and I have no means of subsistence despite sending multiple applications to the U.S. Social Security Administration,” Uvarov said, adding that he is now experiencing depression and is being treated by a doctor.

“Due to the inability to leave, my health condition may further deteriorate until my death, and this injury cannot be quantified, no amount of money damages is calculable and, and therefore the harm cannot be adequately compensated and is irreparable,” he said.

Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona  previously dismissed without prejudice the lawsuit filed by Uvarov against ICE. Uvarov alleged personal injury and demanded $80,000 in damages.

On Dec. 2, 2020, Uvarov filed an amended complaint, but Judge Manglona said Uvarov’s claims for monetary relief are not permitted under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

As for Uvarov’s request for the return of his passport, the judge reiterated her previous ruling that the Administrative Procedure Act limits the court’s jurisdiction to review agency actions to those that are reviewable by statute or to those that are final.

Judge Manglona finds that there is no final agency action, as Uvarov is “merely being informed of a procedural requisite — the need for an interview — prior to obtaining his relief sought.”

Reporter

Bryan Manabat studied criminal justice at Northern Marianas College. He covers the community, tourism, business, police and court beats.

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