Supreme Court Will Decide If Green Card Holder Can Be Inadmissible

The US Supreme Court could make it easier for Green Card holders to stay in the country after committing a crime.

The justices agreed today to review a ruling made by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling deals with when Green Card holders can obtain “Cancellation of Removal.”

If an immigration judge grants a non-citizen’s application for Cancellation of Removal, the government’s attempt to remove the non-citizen ends unsuccessfully (unless the government later challenges the judge’s decision through, for example, an appeal).

To receive Cancellation of Removal, a non-citizen must (1) have been lawfully admitted as a permanent resident for at least five years, and (2) have resided in the US “continuously” for seven years after being admitted.

The 11th Circuit case deals with the second requirement. More specifically, the 11th Circuit case deals with the “stop-time rule,” which pauses the accumulation of the seven-years residency. The stop-time rule is triggered, among other times, whenever a Green Card holder commits an offense that makes him “inadmissible.”

The Second, Third, Fifth, and Eleventh Circuits have all said the rule is kicks in regardless of whether an admitted immigrant is seeking admission to the U.S. Meanwhile, the Ninth Circuit has said that immigrants can’t be “inadmissible” unless they are actually seeking admission.

Andre Martello Barton, a Jamaican citizen and a Green Card holder, has asked the Supreme Court to review his case, after the 11th Circuit found he was a few months shy of qualifying for Cancellation of Removal.