Simply put, this clause allows someone who is in the country illegally to petition the government to be allowed to stay.
That person must meet four criteria: They must have been in the country continuously for 10 years, they must have been “of good moral character during such period,” they must not have broken the law and they must prove their removal would cause “unusual hardship” to a family member who is legally in the country
If Niz-Chavez could prove he met all four criteria, as of 2015, he could have petitioned the government to stay in the US.
However, because he was pulled over by the police in 2013, that technically initiated something known as the “stop-time” rule.
Essentially, this rule is like a pause button on a person’s 10 years. That pause happens when the person receives their notice to appear in deportation court.
Luckily for Niz-Chavez, the Supreme Court decided that since a notice to appear is only valid if it includes all relevant information, the stop-time didn’t begin for him.
The previous courts had all denied Niz-Chavez’s petition to not be removed.
The important question the Supreme Court had to determine was whether the government can provide relevant information in multiple deportation notices, or if it must do so in a single document.
Six Justices determined the information must be in a single document: Justices Neil Gorsuch (who wrote the decision), Amy Coney Barrett, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas.
In a summary of the Court’s decision, Gorsuch wrote, “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.”
In his dissent, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, also writing for Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, argued the decision would “impose substantial costs and burdens on the immigration system.”
Legal experts now believe that the Court’s decision will buy time for other undocumented immigrants who find themselves in Niz-Chavez’s situation.
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