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Non-Citizen Wins Chance to Expand Recent High Court Ruling

June 8, 2020, 1:36 PM

A Guatemalan national seeking to take advantage of a 2018 Supreme Court ruling will get his day in front of the justices.

That 2018 ruling upended the Department of Homeland Security’s long-time practice of mailing “notices to appear” for deportation proceedings without the time and date of the hearing.

Such an incomplete notice doesn’t trigger the so-called stop-time rule, which determines whether a non-citizen is eligible for relief from removal.

Intended to avoid hardships for long-time U.S. residents and their U.S.-citizen children, eligibility for removal relief requires that the non-citizen has lived in the U.S. for either seven years or 10 years, depending on their immigration status.

The stop-time rule pauses that residency time accrual while the individual is in immigration proceedings.

Agusto Niz-Chavez, whose case the justices agreed to take up Monday, has been in the U.S. since 2005 and has three children who are U.S. citizens. He says the court’s 2018 ruling means the government didn’t succeed in stopping the clock and that he is now eligible for relief from removal.

At issue is whether the government can cure the inadequate notice by sending the information in a later document.

The lower appellate courts are split on the question, and the Supreme Court decided to weigh in.

The justices aren’t expected to hear this case until next term, which begins in October.

The case is Niz-Chavez v. Barr, U.S., No. 19-863, Review Granted 6/8/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom P. Taylor at; Andrew Harris at; John Crawley at