The U.S. Supreme Court gave thousands of long-term immigrants seeking to avoid deportation in a ruling that faulted the federal government for improperly notifying a man who came to the United States illegally from Guatemala to appear for a removal hearing.
The justices, in a 6–3 decision that divided the high court’s conservative bloc, overturned a lower court’s decision that had prevented Agusto Niz-Chavez from pursuing his request to cancel the attempted expulsion based on the length of time he had lived in the United States.
He lives in Michigan with his family after entering the United States illegally in 2005.
The justices decided that federal immigration law requires authorities to include all relevant details for a notice to appear for a hearing in one document rather than sending the information across multiple documents.
While a technical issue, the ruling could affect hundreds of thousands of immigration cases.
“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,” conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the ruling.