The authorities in California were going to remove a man from the country, but he countered, saying he had lived in the state long enough to cancel the removal. The rule he cited said that he had to reside in California for seven years in a row. He had done that and more, so he asked to have it canceled.

However, in 2008, the man was sent a Notice to Appear. When someone gets this notice, it then puts the stop-time rule into play, meaning that time spent after the notice does not count. Since he had gotten it in 2008 and his case began in 2018, they claimed he should lose those 10 years. That would make him ineligible to cancel the removal.

The Supreme Court

Initially, it looked like this tactic worked. The court ruled that he couldn’t count those years due to the order. Even so, he continued to fight it, taking it to the Supreme Court.

That’s where things turned in his favor. Technically, the Notice to Appear has to provide the person who gets it with the place and time for the removal proceedings. If it does not do so, then the stop-time rule does not trigger, and that person can count the time after the notice arrives.

The man’s notice did not have that information. As such, the Supreme Court said that the stop-time rule never applied to him, giving him those 10 years back.

His opponents pointed out that he had also gotten a Notice of Hearing, which they claimed gave him the proper information. Shouldn’t that trigger the rule at that point, since it meant he had both the Notice to Appear and the time-and-place information?

The court did not agree. They claimed that the rules applied to the initial Notice to Appear and that sending him more paperwork did not fix the mistakes made in that original notice. It was still not a valid notice, which he deserved if the stop-time rule was to apply to his case.

Your rights

This case helps to explain some of the rules surrounding immigration for those with any status, and it’s important to consider exactly what it may mean for more cases in the future. The small details of a case matter.

At the same time, it shows that you should never assume that your case is over just because you didn’t win in the lower court. You may still have legal options, and it’s important to know what they are.