High court says immigration deadlines can be extended

Immigration officials remove Central American migrants from a northbound freight train during a raid by federal police in San Ramon, Mexico, just after midnight on the morning of Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. The largest crackdown by Mexican authorities on illegal migration in decades has decreased the flow of Central American migrants trying to reach the United States, and has dramatically cut the number of child migrants and families, according to officials and eyewitness accounts along the perilous route.(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Immigration officials remove Central American migrants from a northbound freight train during a raid by federal police in San Ramon, Mexico, just after midnight on the morning of Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. The largest crackdown by Mexican authorities on illegal migration in decades has decreased the flow of Central American migrants trying to reach the United States, and has dramatically cut the number of child migrants and families, according to officials and eyewitness accounts along the perilous route.(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that federal appeals courts have authority to decide whether people facing deportation should be able to extend the deadlines in immigration proceedings.

In an 8-1 opinion, the justices sided with 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.

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