AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — A Guatemalan man who lived in a Massachusetts church for more than three years to avoid deportation said Tuesday he's hopeful a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision boosts his efforts to remain in the country.
Lucio Perez's lawyer, Glenn Formica, also said in a virtual news conference with his client that the April decision in Niz-Chavez vs. Garland also potentially affects the cases of millions more immigrants living in the country illegally.
The high court ruled in the Niz-Chavez case that federal policy has long deprived immigrants facing deportation of proper notification.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement typically issues a notice of a person's deportation proceedings and then provides the hearing date and other key details in subsequent communications. The court ruled all relevant information should be included in a single notice.
U.S. Rep. James McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat who joined Perez for the news conference, said the ruling is an opportunity to renew legislative efforts to overhaul the nation's immigration laws.
Perez left the First Congregational Church in Amherst in March after receiving a temporary stay of his deportation. He was among more than 70 immigrants nationwide who took sanctuary in churches during former President Donald Trump's administration.