The Supreme Court says federal appeals courts have authority to decide whether people facing deportation should be able to extend the deadlines in immigration proceedings.
The justices ruled Monday in favor of Noel Reyes Mata, a Mexican citizen who had lived in the United States for nearly 15 years. The government began deportation proceedings after he pleaded guilty to an assault charge.
An immigration judge ordered him deported. Mata appealed, but his lawyer failed to file paperwork within the 90 days required. A new attorney tried to reopen the case, but the Board of Immigration Appeals refused.
Mata appealed to the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, but the court said it had no authority to order a deadline extension.
The Supreme Court said the court did have such authority.
Court: Spouse can't protest husband's visa denial
In a separate ruling on immigration rules Monday, the Supreme Court said a California woman can't challenge the government's decision to deny a visa to her spouse from Afghanistan.
The justices ruled 5-4 that Fauzia Din, a naturalized U.S. citizen, had no basis to protest after the visa petition she filed for her husband was rejected in 2009.
Din's husband had worked as a clerk in the Afghan government when it was controlled by the Taliban. But the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan offered no factual explanation for refusing his visa request, other than to cite a law giving officials broad discretion to deny visas based on "terrorist activities."
Din argued that the rejection triggered her marital rights under the Constitution and that she deserved to know the specific reason for the denial.