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Pereira v. Sessions

Supreme Court of the United States

April 23, 2018, Argued; June 21, 2018, Decided

No. 17-459.

Opinion

Justice Sotomayor delivered the opinion of the Court.

Nonpermanent residents, like petitioner here, who are subject to removal proceedings and have accrued 10 years of continuous physical presence in the United States, may be eligible for a form of discretionary relief known as cancellation of removal. 8 U.S.C. §1229b(b)(1). Under [***8]  the so-called “stop-time rule” set forth in §1229b(d)(1)(A), however, that period of continuous physical presence is “deemed to end . . . when the alien is served a notice to appear under section 1229(a).” Section 1229(a), in turn, provides that the Government shall serve noncitizens in removal proceedings with “written notice (in this section referred to as a ‘notice to appear’) . . . specifying” several required pieces of information, including “[t]he time and  [*2110]  place at which the [removal] proceedings will be held.” §1229(a)(1)(G)(i). 1

 [**442]  The narrow question in this case lies at the intersection of those statutory provisions. If the Government serves a noncitizen with a document that is labeled “notice to appear,” but the document fails to specify either the time or place of the removal proceedings, does it trigger the stop-time rule? The answer is as obvious as it seems: No. A notice that does not inform a noncitizen when and where to appear for removal proceedings is not a “notice to appear under section 1229(a)” and therefore does not trigger the stop-time rule. The plain text, the statutory context, and common sense all lead inescapably and unambiguously to that conclusion.

Under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), [***9]  110 Stat. 3009-546, the Attorney General of the United States has discretion to “cancel removal” and adjust the status of certain nonpermanent residents. §1229b(b). To be eligible for such relief, a nonpermanent resident must meet certain enumerated criteria, the relevant one here being that the noncitizen must have “been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of not less than 10 years immediately preceding the date of [an] application” for cancellation of removal. §1229b(b)(1)(A). 2

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138 S. Ct. 2105 *; 201 L. Ed. 2d 433 **; 2018 U.S. LEXIS 3838 ***; 27 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 406; 2018 WL 3058276

WESCLEY FONSECA PEREIRA, Petitioner v. JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS, III, ATTORNEY GENERAL

Notice: The LEXIS pagination of this document is subject to change pending release of the final published version.

Prior History:  [***1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIRST CIRCUIT

Pereira v. Sessions, 866 F.3d 1, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 13871 (1st Cir., July 31, 2017)

Disposition: 866 F.3d 1, reversed and remanded.

CORE TERMS

notice to appear, notice, stop-time, removal proceedings, noncitizen, alien, trigger, time and place, Immigration, proceedings, removal, time-and-place, written notice, date and time, serve notice, Appeals, physical presence, notice of appeal, ambiguous, show cause, cancellation, purposes, charges, omits, substantive requirements, statutory provisions, statutory text, hearing date, orders, statutory interpretation

Immigration Law, Deportation & Removal, Relief From Deportation & Removal, Cancellation of Removal, Administrative Proceedings, Notices & Orders, Proceedings In Absentia, Relief From Deportation & Removal, Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, Deference to Agency Statutory Interpretation, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Rights of Respondent, Right to Representation by Counsel