Pereira v. Sessions

Under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, nonpermanent residents who are subject to removal may be eligible for cancellation of removal if they have “been physically present" in the U.S. for a continuous period of not less than 10 years, 8 U.S.C. 1229(b)(1)(A). Continuous presence is deemed to end when the alien is served notice under section 1229(a), which provides for written notice to appear, specifying the “time and place" of proceedings. The Department of Homeland Security often serves notices that fail to specify the time, place, or date of initial removal hearings. Pereira, a citizen of Brazil, came to the U.S. in 2000 and remained after his visa expired. Following a 2006 DUI arrest, DHS served Pereira with a “notice to appear” that ordered him to appear at a date to be set in the future. A year later, the Immigration Court mailed Pereira notice setting the date and time for his hearing. Sent to the wrong address, the notice was returned as undeliverable. Pereira failed to appear and was ordered removed in absentia. In 2013, Pereira was detained by DHS. In reopened removal proceedings, Pereira demonstrated that he never received the 2007 notice. Pereira applied for cancellation of removal, arguing that he had been continuously present for more than 10 years. The BIA affirmed a removal order; the First Circuit denied Pereira’s petition for review. The Supreme Court reversed. A putative notice to appear that fails to designate the specific time or place of the noncitizen’s removal proceedings is not a “notice to appear” under section 1229(a) and does not trigger the stop-time rule. The unambiguous statutory text clarifies that the notice must specify “time and place” of the hearing. View "Pereira v. Sessions" on Justia Law