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Supreme Court rules on deportation deadlines

Immigrants in South Carolina may be interested to learn about a Supreme Court ruling on June 15. The case was brought by a Mexican citizen who was going to be deported following an assault charge. He had been in the United States for 15 years.

The man pleaded guilty to the charge and deportation was ordered. Although the man appealed, his lawyer had 90 days to file the necessary paperwork and did not.

The man attempted to have a new attorney reopen the case, but the Board of Immigration Appeals would not do so. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit said that it could not reopen a deadline extension because it lacked the authority. However, in an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that federal appeals courts could make a decision about whether an individual's deportation deadline could be extended during ongoing immigration proceedings.

As this case demonstrates, immigration law is complex and may change rapidly. An individual who is facing deportation or who has other immigration issues might wish to consult an attorney. Whether a person is in the United States legally or illegally, an attorney might be able to provide a defense against deportation depending on the circumstances. There could be extenuating circumstances that make it possible for the person to remain in the country. For example, if the individual has minor children who are citizens, this may be a factor. Immigrants are entitled to due process in most cases. Deportation proceedings can drag out, and those who are facing them may want to obtain the assistance of counsel in order to provide a viable defense.

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