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Immigration Law

CA9 on Stop-Time Rule: Quebrado-Cantor v. Garland

Quebrado-Cantor v. Garland

"This appeal requires us to address, yet again, application of the “stop-time rule” in immigration proceedings. Nonpermanent residents subject to removal may apply to the Attorney General for cancellation of removal. To be eligible, a nonpermanent resident must have “been physically present in the United States for a continuous period of not less than 10 years.” 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(1)(A). The question is what circumstances serve to stop the accrual of time. By statute, nonpermanent residents cease to accrue physical presence (1) once they are “served a notice to appear” or (2) if they commit certain crimes. Id. § 1229b(d)(1). Domingo Quebrado Cantor (“Quebrado”) alleges he was physically present in this country for twelve years when he sought to reopen his immigration proceedings to apply for cancellation of removal. The Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) saw it differently and denied Quebrado’s request, reasoning that the stop-time rule was triggered when Quebrado received a final order of removal four years prior to his motion to reopen. By its terms, however, the stop-time rule applies to only the two circumstances set out in the statute, and a final order of removal satisfies neither. Because the BIA’s decision was contrary to the text of the statute, we grant the petition and remand to the BIA for further proceedings."

[Hats off to Luis Cortes Romero and Elaine Ruth Fordyce!]