By Andrew Chung
(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday bolstered the efforts of some long-term immigrants to avoid deportation in a ruling that faulted the federal government for improperly notifying a man who came to the United States illegally from Guatemala to appear for a removal hearing.
The justices, in a 6-3 ruling that divided the court’s conservative bloc, overturned a lower court’s decision that had prevented Agusto Niz-Chavez from pursuing his request to cancel the attempted expulsion based on having lived in the United States for many years. Niz-Chavez lives in Michigan with his family after entering the United States illegally in 2005.
At issue in the case was whether federal immigration law requires authorities to include all relevant details for a notice to appear for a hearing in one document or can send the information across multiple documents.
“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,” conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the ruling.
Gorsuch was joined by the court’s three liberal justices as well as conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Amy Coney Barrett.
In a dissent, conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, said the ruling was “perplexing as a matter of statutory interpretation and common sense.”
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