Deportation Proceedings: If the Notice to Appear is defective, it does not count.

By May 18, 2021 May 20th, 2021 Blog

on Apr 29, 2021 at 10:43 am The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a 6-3 opinion in Niz-Chavez v. Garland,

If men must turn square corners when they deal with the government it cannot be too much to expect the government to turn square corners when it deals with them.

In other words, people cannot cut corners when they deal with the government neither can the government cut corners with them.

The Supreme Court considered the adequacy of a “notice to appear” to a deportation proceeding whether it was legally adequate if the notice did not contain all of the statutorily specified information, like where and when the person is supposed to appear in court.

The law requires the government to serve “a notice to appear” on individuals it wishes to remove from his country. a notice indicates —a single document containing all the information an individual needs to know about his removal hearing. But, the government says, supplying so much information in a single form is too taxing.

Many times the gov issues a NTA and it doesn’t say when and where the person is suppose to appear. Even thought the title of the document is called “a Notice to Appear”. Instead the gov writes “ to be set”. Then subsequently mails the person further information many months later even years later. Often times the person has moved or only gave a temporary address. Then if the person doesn’t receive the notice and fails to appear in court they get deported in their absence.

This matters also because a nonpermanent resident aliens otherwise subject to removal may be eligible to remain in the country if they can establish they have been in the country continuously for at least ten years. A notice to appear, however, effectively cuts off the running of this time period. So, in this case, whether the government’s notice to appear to Niz-Chavez was adequate would determine whether he is potentially eligible for discretionary relief from deportation.

In a 6-3 decision, the Court held that the government had not provided Niz-Chavez with a statutorily adequate notice to appear because no single document sent to Niz-Chavez contained all of the required information. The court focused on the word “a”, a notice to appear. indicating a single document.

Justice Gorsuch, wrote for the Court, joined by Justices Thomas, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Barrett. Justice Kavanaugh dissented, joined by the Chief Justice and Justice Alito.

This case reversed a lower court’s decision that had limited access to “cancellation of removal,” an important form of relief for noncitizens in deportation proceedings.

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