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Supreme Court denies immigrant chance to cancel his deportation

Supreme Court denies immigrant chance to cancel his deportation
Justice Neil M. Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion denying a longtime undocumented immigrant a chance to present his deportation case in front of an immigration judge. File Photo by Melina Mara/UPI | License Photo

March 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday against an undocumented immigrant who has lived in the United States for 25 years and is facing deportation over a misdemeanor conviction.

Clemente Pereida did not meet the burden required to prove his deportation should be cancelled, justices wrote in the 5-3 decision.

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Pereida, who arrived from Mexico in 2995, has faced deportation since 2009, when he was convicted of using another person's Social Security card. He was fined $100 for the misdemeanor and the Department of Homeland Security issued a deportation order.

The court's newest justice, Amy Coney Barrett, did not vote on the case. In an opinion written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the court said Pereida had the burden under law to prove he was eligible for cancellation of his deportation.

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Immigrants can move to cancel a deportation order under certain conditions, but federal authorities had ruled him ineligible to present his case because of the crime.

Pereida's lawyers argued on appeal there was ambiguity about whether their client's crime involved "moral turpitude" and so he should be allowed a chance to present a case for staying in the country.

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"Individuals seeking relief from a lawful removal order shoulder a heavy burden," Gorsuch said in the opinion. "Mr. Pereida failed to carry that burden."

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The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis said while it was unclear whether the crime met the federal threshold to block him from presenting his case, the burden still fell on Pereida to demonstrate to prove his cancel eligibility.

In his dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer said: "Today's decision may make the administration of immigration law less fair and less predictable."

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