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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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Immigration

DHS Secretary Mayorkas Says We Cannot Remove ‘11 Million Undocumented Individuals’ Unlawfully in U.S.

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DHS Secretary Mayorkas

Troubling details were unearthed during the questioning of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by the Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Grassley asked Mayorkas about a DHS memo from September 30 which reads: “The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen will not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them.”

“Does that reasoning apply to the [1.2] million illegal immigrants who have received due process and been given a final order of removal by an immigration judge?” Grassley asked Mayorkas.

“We cannot remove 1.2 million individuals, nor can we remove more than 11 million undocumented individuals, individuals who are unlawfully present in the United States, who might not have final orders of removal” Mayorkas answered.

Mayorkas also stated that he had issued the due process policy after drawing on “tremendous experience not only as a member of the Department of Homeland Security but as a federal prosecutor.”

Grassley pressed Mayorkas, asking, “should any of them be removed?”

“Of course,” Mayorkas said. “I do believe that individuals who pose a public safety threat, who pose a national security threat, who pose a border security threat, should be removed, and we should be smart and effective in our use of resources, and we should focus on the well-being of our communities and prioritize individuals for removal.”

In his opening statements, Grassley addressed Mayorkas and stated, “When you allow the ACLU and open-borders immigration activists rather than career law enforcement professionals to dictate the terms of your immigration and border policies, then you shouldn’t be surprised when record-shattering numbers of people start showing up at the border to take advantage of that.”

Grassley continued, “When you run DHS like it’s an ‘Abolish ICE’ fan club, you shouldn’t be surprised when you have an illegal immigration crisis on your hands.”

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