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Supreme Court Sides with Illegal Immigrant Against Deportation Due to Grammatical Error

Arvind Datta
Arvind is a recluse who prefers staying far away from the limelight as possible. Be that as it may, he keeps a close eye on what's happening and reports on it to keep people rightly informed.
Published: May 10, 2021
A Guatemalan man got the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in his favor, against deportation, due to a semantic issue.
A Guatemalan man got the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in his favor, against deportation, due to a semantic issue. (Image: MarkThomas via Pixabay)

The U.S. Supreme Court recently made a judgment in favor of an illegal immigrant against his deportation due to a minute grammatical error in the government document. Guatemalan immigrant Agusto Niz-Chavez came to the U.S. illegally in 2005 crossing the southern border. He eventually settled down in Detroit. Eight years later in 2013, the government began removal proceedings against him. Initially, the administration sent a notice listing the various charges. Later, they send out a second notice that detailed the date and time when he was expected to appear in court. 

It is the timing of these notices that became the core focus of the case. According to federal law, an illegal immigrant can appeal a removal order provided that he has been staying in the United States for 10 years continuously. However, the calculation stops when they receive “a notice to appear” at a deportation hearing. Chavez argued that he had received multiple notices and not a single notice as mandated by law. The court agreed with Chavez’s argument, ruling that the law says “a” notice, meaning a single document.

“At one level, today’s dispute may seem semantic, focused on a single word, a small one at that… But words are how the law constrains power. 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,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the court’s opinion.

Supreme Court justices supported Chavez in a 6-3 decision. The dissent came from justices Brett Kavanaugh, Samuel Alito, and John Roberts. Kavanaugh pointed out that Chavez had received all necessary information on deportation by May 2013, well within the 10-year limit as prescribed by law. He argued that handing out a first notice to noncitizens is actually in their interest as they will have sufficient time to prepare for a proper defense. Moreover, there is no issue of prejudice against noncitizens, whether they receive two documents or one.

In the court, the government argued that it was difficult to send a single notice containing all the information since details regarding the place and time of the hearing could change. However, Gorsuch dismissed the argument and took a dig at the burden placed on the general public by the government with regard to things like filing applications. 

As an example, the Supreme Court justice cited how asylum seekers are required to read through a 14-page instruction on how to fill in a 12-page form and that they could risk being charged with a crime if they make even a single error. The judgment is a blow to Washington’s efforts to deport some undocumented immigrants amidst a border crisis that has triggered immense criticism of the Biden administration. 

Immigrants apprehended by Border Patrol

Meanwhile, Border Patrol agents continue to encounter thousands of migrants attempting to cross into America daily. Agents at the Rio Grande Valley recently apprehended 42 adult migrants crossing a ranch. Although the migrants fled when the agents arrived, all 42 were apprehended by the officers. One patrol agent told Breitbart that human smugglers tend to move large groups of unaccompanied minors and families across the border while separately moving single adults through various other crossings.

With the attention of Border Patrol agents directed at family and child immigrants, smugglers are able to transport drugs with a higher success rate via the adult migrant groups. According to the Trump-era Title 42 coronavirus protection protocols, almost all adult migrants who travel alone are sent to their country of origin or expelled to Mexico within two hours of being apprehended. The Biden administration currently continues to follow the policy with minor exceptions. In March, Washington expelled around 102,000 migrants under this clause.

According to another Breitbart report, almost 900 Venezuelans had crossed through the Del Rio region in Texas last month. Agents have apprehended these migrants and sent them to nearby facilities for processing. “This group will more than likely be released into the United States to pursue asylum claims even though they would not qualify for the TPS (Temporary Protected Status) designation. The source reports many of the Venezuelans interviewed during the week directly attributed the suspension of deportations by the  Biden Administration as the impetus for their entry into the United States,” according to the Breitbart article.

Two groups of migrants were recently found in “stash houses.” Smugglers tend to pack their human cargo into tractor-trailer rigs or overloaded passenger vehicles during transport. Border Patrol agents rescued these migrants from dangerous conditions.

Program facilitating ICE – police coordination endangered

Democrats are looking to end a police program that is aimed at handing over criminal illegal aliens to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for arrest and eventual deportation. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) runs a program called 287(g) that allows agreements between ICE and local law enforcement to implement such actions.

Many of the criminal illegal aliens who are arrested and turned over to ICE include individuals charged with child rape, drug trafficking, aggravated assault, and domestic violence. Democrat Senator Cory Booker and two Democratic Representatives, Pramila Jayapal and Mike Quigley, have sent a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, asking that all 287(g) agreements be immediately terminated, maintaining that the program harasses immigrant communities and results in racial profiling.

The letter states, “While it will take congressional action to repeal this provision of federal law, we strongly encourage DHS to terminate all existing 287(g) agreements immediately. This would represent a critical step in disentangling federal immigration enforcement from state and local law enforcement and improve the enforcement of our nation’s federal immigration laws.” If the agreements are terminated, law enforcement agencies belonging to 26 states will find it difficult to work with ICE regarding immigrant issues.