Supreme Court Rules Against Federal Government on Deportation Notice Requirement

Recently, immigrant rights scored a technical (but still meaningful) victory before the nation’s highest court. On April 29th, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against the federal government in the case of Niz-Chavez v. Garland.

Writing for a six to three majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch emphasized that the government must serve a ‘Notice to Appear’ in order to be able to invoke the so-called ‘time-stop’ rule in a deportation case.

To be sure, it is a highly technical decision, but also an important one for immigrant rights. In this blog post, our Los Angeles deportation defense lawyer provides a more detailed explanation of the decision and its importance.

Case Analysis: Niz-Chavez v. Garland

Background & Facts

Under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), the federal government is required to provide “a notice to appear” to an immigrant that it wants to remove from the country. However, in practice, that does not always occur. In this case, the federal government ordered the removal of a petitioner by the name Agusto Niz-Chavez.

Originally a native of Guatemala, Mr. Niz-Chavez allegedly crossed the U.S.-Mexico border as an undocumented immigrant in 2005. He was sent two separate documents. Neither document was a ‘notice to appear’. The government argued that, collectively, the two documents together satisfied the elements of the notice to appear requirement.

The Legal Issue

The question at stake: Does the government have to provide an official ‘notice to appear’ in order to try to prevent an immigrant from seeking a cancellation of removal in immigration court? The petitioner, Mr. Niz-Chavez sought the cancellation of removal. Simply put, cancellation of removal allows certain non-citizens to protect themselves against deportation.

The Decision

Writing for a majority that was made up of the court’s three liberal justices, Justice Thomas, and Justice Coney-Barrett, Justice Gorsuch held that the government must comply with the statutory requirements of the IIRIRA.

In doing so, the nation’s highest court reaffirms that the federal government has a legal responsibility to provide a person they are seeking to remove from the country with a notice to appear. The failure to provide a notice to appear initiating removal proceedings is a violation of a person’s rights.

Deportation from the United States is a very serious matter. It is imperative that the federal government handles these cases with the care, sensitivity, and diligence that immigrants rightfully deserve. Agencies should never cut corners in the removal process.

Contact Our Los Angeles, CA Deportation Defense Lawyer Today

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our Los Angeles deportation defense attorney is a passionate, solutions-centered advocate for clients. We are focused on protecting the rights of our clients. If you have any questions about deportation proceedings, our firm is more than ready to help. Give us a call now for a completely private case evaluation. From our Los Angeles office, we represent clients in deportation and removal proceedings throughout Southern California.

Josh Goldstein
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