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SCOTUS: Illegal immigrant avoids deportation thanks to a technicality

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The Supreme Court ruled against the deportation of a Guatemalan man because the government failed to notify him of his legal hearing in a single notice.

According to federal law, even an illegal immigrant can avoid deportation if they stay in the country for 10 years. However, if at anytime within those 10 years he or she receives “a notice to appear” at an immigration hearing, the jig is up. Once the notice is received the person must endure the hearing or face deportation. Some endure the hearing and still face deportation. But not Guatemala-born Agusto Niz-Chavez.

Niz-Chavez lucked out because he received several notices that all had different pieces of information. The Court ruled that because the law calls for “a notice” the government broke the law and could not deport him.

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Chavez’s ruling came down to 6-3. Liberal Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer, as well as conservatives Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett and Clarence Thomas were the 6 in favor. Opposing judges included Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

Justice Gorsuch, who wrote the assenting opinion, recognized that the Court played with semantics. “”At one level, today’s dispute may seem semantic, focused on a single word, a small one at that,” wrote Gorsuch. “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.”

RELATED: Sara Carter: The border crisis is ‘astounding’

However, Justice Kavanaugh did not agree about the power of a single word. “I find the Court’s conclusion rather perplexing as a matter of statutory interpretation and common sense,” Kavanaugh wrote.

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Report: Denver area migrants cost $340 million to shelter, educate

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A report by the free-market Common Sense Institute found the more than 42,000 migrants who have arrived in Denver over the last year and a half have cost the region as much as $340 million. The city of Denver, local school districts, and the region’s health-care system have spent between $216 million and $340 million combined to shelter, feed, clothe, and educate the migrants, and to provide them with emergency medical care.

National Review explains the report builds off a previous report from March that conservatively found that the migrants had cost the region at least $170 million. “Costs are never localized,” said DJ Summers, the institute’s research director. “They expand outward.”

Democratic leaders are being blamed for their welcoming posture toward immigrants generally, and their sanctuary-city policies, which curtail law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal immigration agents. Since late December 2022, at least 42,269 migrants — or “newcomers” as Denver leaders call them — have arrived in the city, adds National Review.

The Common Sense Institute report found that the migrant crisis has also hit local emergency rooms hard with extensive expenses. Since December 2022, migrants have made more than 16,000 visits to metro emergency departments. At an estimated cost of about $3,000 per visit, that has resulted in nearly $48 million in uncompensated care.

Summers said those costs are “stressing existing health care organizations,” but they also indirectly hit residents in their pocketbooks through increased insurance prices.

Metro school districts have endured the biggest financial hit — estimated between $98 million and $222 million — according to the Common Sense Institute report. The large range in costs is due to the difficulties researchers had identifying exactly how many new foreign students are tied to the migrant crisis.

The researchers found that since December 2022, 15,725 foreign students have enrolled in local schools. Of those, 6,929 have come from the five countries most closely identified with the migrant crisis — Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

On average, it costs a little over $14,000 to educate a student for a year in a Denver-area public school, but Summers said migrant students likely cost more.

“They have transportation needs that are different, they have acculturation needs that are going to be different, language assistance needs that are going to be different,” he said. “Many of them might need to get up to speed in curriculum. They might need outside tutoring.”

Earlier this year, Colorado lawmakers approved $24 million in state funding to help school districts statewide plug budget holes related to the migrant students.

Summers said the updated Common Sense Institute tally is likely still missing some costs related to the ongoing migrant crisis.

“There are definitely additional costs. We just don’t have a great way to measure them just yet,” he said, noting legal fees, crime, and unreported business and nonprofit expenses.

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