On June 21, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision that will benefit thousands of immigrants.
The Supreme Court’s Pereira V. Sessions Decision
The Supreme Court ruled that Mr. Pereira, a Brazilian citizen living in Massachusetts, was eligible to apply for a green card through Cancellation of Removal (also called the Ten Year Rule), even though he received the Notice to Appear in immigration court after only 6 years of continuous residence in the United States. This is because the Notice to Appear (NTA) issued to Mr. Pereira failed to state the time and place of his immigration hearing.
What the Pereira Decision Means for Your Deportation Defense
In any case involving deportation, the deportation process begins when immigration officials serve you with a document called a Notice to Appear.
The “stop-time rule” says that once you receive an NTA, you automatically stop accruing the ten years’ of residence required to apply for Cancellation of Removal, a major form of relief for people facing deportation.
If you received a Notice to Appear in Immigration Court that did not contain information about where and when a hearing would take place, then your residence ‘clock’ never stopped. You may be eligible to stop deportation by applying for Cancellation of Removal in Immigration Court.
To qualify for relief from removal under the Pereira decision, you must also qualify for Cancellation of Removal. You need to prove that:
- You have been physically present in the US for a continuous period of 10 years prior to the institution of removal proceedings.
- You have been a person of good moral character for 10 years;
- Your removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to your spouse, parent, or child, who is a citizen of the United States or a lawful permanent resident; and
- You must be otherwise eligible for a green card.
Who Can Benefit
The decision in Pereira v. Sessions affects a whole range of people, including folks who are currently facing deportation in Immigration Court, those who may have missed a hearing in Immigration Court, and received an in absentia order of removal, or those who have previously been ordered to leave the United States. People who have lived in the United States for ten years continuously, even if they have been placed in Immigration Court and ordered removed or deported may benefit from this decision.