The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favor of an ‘undocumented immigrant’ challenging his deportation.
In an opinion authored by Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, the high court said the Justice Department erred by not sending Agusto Niz-Chavez a single “notice to appear” during its efforts to deport him to Guatemala.
Instead, they sent him a notice of charges followed by a second letter with the date of his court appearance.
Niz-Chavez came to the United States illegally in 2005 and received his notice of charges in 2013. He challenged the government’s efforts to deport him because U.S. law says an immigrant can appeal their deportation if they’ve been in the United States for at least 10 years. The law also says that period of time is marked by when the immigrant receives a “notice to appeal.”
Niz-Chavez took the case to court, saying he never received a single “notice to appear” letter, and instead received the notice of charges and the letter with a date for appearance.
The high court voted 6-3 in his favor, with Chief Justice John Roberts, and Associate Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito dissenting.
“At one level, today’s dispute may seem semantic, focused on a single word, a small one at that,” Gorsuch wrote.
“In this case, the law’s terms ensure that, when the federal government seeks a procedural advantage against an individual, it will at least supply him with a single and reasonably comprehensive statement of the nature of the proceedings against him.”
Kavanaugh, who wrote the dissent, said he finds the high court’s decision “rather perplexing as a matter of statutory interpretation and common sense.”
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