A new Supreme Court ruling is offering undocumented immigrants more time to secure residency in the U.S.According to court documents, in an 8-1 vote, a high court ruled that a “Notice to Appear” that lacks time and date information isn’t sufficient to trigger the “stop-time rule.” According to the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the stop-time rule states that continuous residence ends when an undocumented person commits a crime or is served a Notice to Appear placing them in removal proceedings.
Recently, the case Pereira v. Sessions, challenged a federal law stating that undocumented immigrants can avoid deportation if they live in the U.S. for 10 continuous years. Nearly 10 years ago, Wescley Fonseca Pereira came to the U.S. from Brazil on a temporary visitor visa and six months later his visa expired. In 2006, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) served Pereira with a Notice to Appear, but did not give a set time and date.
A year later, Pereira was ordered to leave in late October, however, the notice was not sent to his Post Office Box, but his street address in Martha’s Vineyard. Since Pereira missed the hearing, the courts ordered that he be removed from the country. But he was never deported. Five years later, court records show that Pereira was arrested for a motor vehicle violation and detained by DHS. Pereira’s attorney, David Zimmer, claimed that the Notice to Appear was defective and says the continuous residency clock had not “stopped. ”In June, the Supreme Court sided with Pereira.
“If the government serves a non-citizen with a document that is labeled “notice to appear,” but the document fails to specify either the time or place of the removal proceeding, does it trigger the stop-time rule? The answer is as obvious as it seems: No. A notice that does not inform a non-citizen when and where to appear for removal proceeding is not a “Notice to Appear under section [239(a)].”
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