Martha’s Vineyard Immigration Case Taken to Supreme Court

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By Abigail Royle

The U.S Supreme Court is working on a case who’s result could affect many immigrants living in the United States. The Court held arguments on Monday of an immigration case involving a Notice to Appear. A Notice to Appear is a notice issued to immigrants that signals the process of removal of an immigrant is beginning. It calls for the person to appear in Immigration Court at the date and time specified. This case holds in its hands the location of 37-year-old Wescley Pereira, an immigrant from Brazil who came here on a tourist visa when he was 19 and never left. He’s been living in Martha’s Vineyard for 16 years. If Pereira loses the case, he will most likely be deported back to Brazil.

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The case is centering around the Notice to Appear that Pereira received. Immigrants typically have the ability to apply for a cancellation of deportation. However, a Notice to Appear can stop undocumented immigrants from applying for this relief. Pereira received the notice from federal immigration officials for overstaying his visa, but the date and  time of the hearing was not specified until over a year later.

Pereira’s attorney, David Zimmer, says that since the notice did not specify the date and time of the hearing, it did not supply sufficient information. Therefore, he argues, Pereira should still be permitted to apply for a cancellation of deportation. However, Attorney Frederick Liu, representing the government, says that with the number of immigration cases the courts receive, adding these specific details to the Notice to Appear is impractical. He says that “the vast majority, nearly 100 percent” of notices do not provide the date and time of the person’s hearing. Liu also claims that the most important information the notice is suppose to provide are the charges against the immigrant, not the details of the hearing.

Zimmer responded by arguing that when creating an outline of the necessary information to put in a Notice to Appear, Congress never expressed which details should or should not prioritized. Instead all the information is supposed to be treated equally, and therefore Pereira’s notice was insufficient since it didn’t provide all the information. The entire case questions what information the federal government needs to provide in a Notice to Appear.