Deportation Orders

Analyzing the Supreme Court's Stance on ICE's Two-Step Removal Notice Procedure

The recent scrutiny by the U.S. Supreme Court justices of the Biden administration's two-step removal notice approach, as detailed by Britain Eakin in Law360, is a critical development in immigration law. This blog aims to dissect the arguments presented in the case, the judicial responses, and the implications for the future of immigration enforcement and removal proceedings.

Background of the Issue

The issue at hand concerns the first notices to migrants for removal proceedings, specifically whether these notices need to contain a hearing time and location. The argument put forth by the Biden administration is that initial Notices to Appear (NTAs) can be sent without this information, to be followed by a second document providing the necessary details.

The Supreme Court's Critique

During oral arguments, the Supreme Court justices, including Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, expressed concerns that adopting the government's position could lead to the issuance of blank NTAs, a scenario seemingly at odds with common sense and the purpose of the notice. This argument follows the decisions in the cases of Pereira v. Sessions (2018) and Niz-Chavez v. Garland (2021), where the court emphasized the importance of including all necessary information in a single document.

The Cases Under Consideration

The consolidated cases involve three individuals who received NTAs lacking information on the time and place for their immigration court hearings, resulting in deportation orders issued in absentia. These cases illustrate the practical implications of the current two-step notice process and the challenges it poses for noncitizens.

Arguments from Both Sides

Charles L. McCloud, representing the U.S. Department of Justice, argued that the law only requires the notice of hearing to be deemed valid if it includes the hearing time and place, even if provided in a subsequent document. The advocacy groups, however, stressed the potential ease of reversing such guidelines and the need for a more reliable and immediate provision of complete information.

Implications for Immigration Law

This debate is pivotal for understanding the procedural requirements under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The outcome of this case could significantly impact the way NTAs are issued and the procedural rights of immigrants in removal proceedings.

The Role of Immigration Attorneys

For immigration attorneys, staying abreast of such landmark cases is crucial. Understanding the nuances of these legal arguments and the potential changes in procedural requirements is essential for effectively representing clients in immigration court.


The Supreme Court's critique of the two-step removal notice procedure underscores the evolving nature of immigration law and the continuous effort to balance procedural fairness with administrative efficiency. As an experienced immigration law firm, we are dedicated to navigating these complexities and advocating for the rights of our clients in an ever-changing legal landscape.


This blog is based on the article "Justices Criticize Feds' Two-Step Removal Notice Scheme" by Britain Eakin, published in Law360 on January 8, 2024.

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