Supreme Court Rules in Favor of an Illegal Immigrant in 6-3 Decision

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Six Supreme Court Justices found in favor of a Guatemalan immigrant fighting deportation. Conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett joined Liberal Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayer, rendering the decision of a case argued in November 2020, on April 29, 2021.

By a 6-3 vote, the justices sided with Agusto Niz-Chavez. He came to the United States in 2005, but it was not until 2013 before he received a notice to appear for a deportation hearing. However, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) neglected to advise him of a scheduled date and time. The information about when and where to show up was not sent to the alien until two months later.

When the government sends out a notice of a deportation hearing, the clock is stopped on immigrants who hope to take advantage of the 10-year mark that makes it easier for aliens to seek permission to stay in the United States, according to The Washington Post.

The Supreme Court was deciding if ICE has to include all of the needed information in a single notice.

Gorsuch and Coney Barrett are both former President Donald Trump’s appointees. With Trump’s loathing of immigrants, it is surprising to see these Supreme Court justices upholding an immigrant’s rights.

Justice Gorsuch’s opinion is they must. He criticized immigration’s “notice by installment.” In his decision, he noted that everyone knows it can be difficult to fill out government forms. He added, “but it turns out the federal government finds some of  its forms frustrating too.”

Gorsuch continued citing a 1996 immigration law that specifically indicates “a notice to appear” must be sent to those who want to deport — not 20, not 2, but 1 notification. He contends this interpretation stems from common sense.

Supreme CourtConey Barrett and Gorsuch are both former President Donald Trump’s appointees. With Trump’s loathing of immigrants, it is surprising to see these Supreme Court justices upholding an immigrant’s rights.

Trump’s third Supreme Court appointee, Justice Brent Kavanaugh, wrote the dissent opinion. He called out Gorsuch’s conclusion “rather perplexing.”

Kavanaugh stated that Niz-Chavez had sufficient notice as he showed up at his hearing with representation.

“Niz-Chavez received written notice of the charges and all the required information, including the time and place of his hearing,” Kavanaugh wrote. The immigrant’s notices were sent in a timely manner and well within the 10-year period noted above.

Kavanaugh was joined by dissenters Justice Samuel Alito and Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

FOX News: Unusual Supreme Court vote rules illegal immigrant can avoid deportation on technicality; Ronn Blitzer
The Washington Post: An unusual coalition as Supreme Court rules for immigrant; by Mark Sherman|AP

Featured and Top Image by Fred Schilling Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States Courtesy of Wikimedia – Public Domain License
Inset Image by Franz Jantzen, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States Courtesy of Wikimedia – Public Domain License

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