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.

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