The Supreme Court offered a surprising reprieve on Thursday in a case involving thousands of illegal immigrants facing deportation in a 6-3 decision in favor of the liberal side of the court.
The decision split the court’s conservative majority. Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett joined the court’s three liberal colleagues, agreeing the U.S. government is required to provide defendants in deportation cases with a single, comprehensive document detailing the case against them.
“In this case, the law’s terms ensure that, when the federal government seeks a procedural advantage against an individual, it will at least supply him with a single and reasonably comprehensive statement of the nature of the proceedings against him,” Gorsuch wrote in the decision.
The case involved Agusto Niz-Chavez, an illegal immigrant who lived in Michigan since 2005. The court’s decision overturned a lower court ruling that stopped Niz-Chavez from moving forward with a request to revoke his deportation due to how long he had stayed in the nation.
The decision occurs as President Joe Biden has faced much controversy for the number of illegal immigrants entering across the nation’s southern border during his term. He also signed an executive order to stop most deportations during the first 100 days of his presidency.
The president tapped Vice President Kamala Harris to lead the nation’s response to the immigration surge more than a month ago. She plans to address the “root causes” of immigration, though she has not visited the nation’s southern border.
The court’s decision also comes as conservatives, along with some Democrats, have criticized the president’s immigration changes as harmful to the nation, particularly to communities along the nation’s southern border.