Supreme Court Denies Deportation Appeals For Undocumented Immigrants

 June 17, 2024

In a narrow 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the deportation orders for three undocumented immigrants after a legal dispute over notice requirements, Breitbart reported.

The Supreme Court has resolved a significant immigration case, denying the appeals of three immigrants fighting their deportation from the United States based on the adequacy of notice received for their hearings.

The case involved Esmelis Campos-Chaves, Varinder Singh, and Raul Daniel Mendez-Colín, who were all ordered deported in absentia after failing to appear at their immigration hearings. Initially, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued Notices to Appear that lacked specific details about the time and place of the hearings.

Follow-Up Notices Trigger Legal Battle

Subsequent to the initial notices, the DOJ sent detailed follow-up notices to the individuals, clearly stating the exact time and place for the hearings. Despite receiving these notices, Campos-Chaves, Singh, and Mendez-Colín did not attend their hearings, leading to the issuance of in absentia deportation orders.

The legal contention centered on whether the initial failure to specify hearing details could invalidate the later, detailed notices. Lower courts were divided on this issue, with the Fifth Circuit Court denying one petition, while the Ninth Circuit sided with the other two aliens.

This disparity in lower court decisions prompted the Supreme Bình Court to take up the case to clarify the notice requirements under sections §1229(a) and §1229a(b)(5)(C)(ii) of U.S. immigration law.

Supreme Court Majority Upholds Deportation Orders

Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, stated that the follow-up notices met the legal standards required for notifying aliens of their immigration hearings. "Campos-Chaves, Singh, and Mendez-Colín all received 'notice in accordance with paragraph (1) or (2)' for the hearings they missed, and thus their in absentia removal orders may not be rescinded on that ground," Alito explained.

"The Government concedes that none of them received a compliant NTA. Each did, however, receive a 'notice in accordance with paragraph . . . (2),' and each notice met all of the requirements for a notice under that provision," he added.

The decision was supported by Justices John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.

Dissenting Opinion Highlights Concerns

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson authored the dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Neil Gorsuch. They argued that the initial failure to provide complete notice compromised the aliens' ability to prepare for their hearings effectively.

"When the Government seeks to remove an alien, it is required to notify the alien of the time and place of the removal hearings," Jackson noted, emphasizing the importance of initial notices meeting the statutory requirements.

The dissent also discussed the implications of this ruling for future immigration proceedings, suggesting it sets a precedent that could affect thousands of similar cases.

Clarification of Immigration Notification Requirements

The majority opinion clarified the scope of what is required under U.S. immigration law for notice to be considered adequate. "We granted certiorari in these cases to consider what it means to 'demonstrat[e] that the alien did not receive notice in accordance with paragraph (1) or (2),'" Alito stated, reflecting on the Court's rationale for reviewing these cases.

This clarification is expected to influence how lower courts handle similar cases of deportation where the notice might be in question.

The Supreme Court's decision in Campos-Chaves v. Garland, No. 22-674, therefore, sets a critical precedent regarding the procedural requirements for deportation under U.S. immigration law.

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