Case Involving Martha’s Vineyard Immigrant Goes Before Supreme Court

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Monday on a case involving a Martha’s Vineyard immigrant who is facing deportation.

The court in January agreed hear the case of Wescley Fonseca Pereira, who could be sent back to his native Brazil. Pereira, a father of two girls born in the United States, arrived in the U.S. in June 2000 on a six-month visa and did not leave.

At issue is how Pereira’s continuous time in the country is determined. Some immigrants who have been in the United States for 10 years are not eligible for deportation.

The government is expected to argue that Pereira’s continuous time in the country came to a stop when the Department of Homeland Security filed a notice to appear for removal against Pereira in 2006, following his arrest on operating under the influence charges.

Pereira’s attorneys are expected to argue that the government failed to serve appropriate notice because the order did not include a time and date for the hearing and was sent to his address in Oak Bluffs instead of his P.O. box.

Pereira’s representation argues this means his continuous time in the country never came to a stop and that he has since exceeded the necessary 10 years to avoid deportation.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Immigrant Defense Project filed an amicus brief supporting Pereira in the case, which is officially known at Pereira v. Sessions.

The Supreme Court only hears about 1 percent of the cases it is asked to consider on an annual basis.

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