Supreme Court Says That Children Who Turn 21 Must Go to Back of the Visa Line

In a 5-4 decision, the supreme court held that immigrant children who for years waited with their parents to obtain visas must go the back of the line when they turn 21. The justices found that the immigration laws protect only a fraction of children who “age out” of the system.

The case started as a 13 year old Salvadorian boy who was waiting in line with his parents for years. However, when he turned 21, the government informed him that he was now an adult and must go to the back of the line resulting in adding years to his wait.

A group of lawmakers including Sens. McCain (R), Hatch (R), Schummer (D), and Feinstein (D) submitted a brief against the government. In this rare display of bipartisan effort, they felt that the law should not require children who “age out” to go to the back of the line but rather, stay where they’re at.

The government’s position was that if the law was not applied as written, too many young adults would enter the country ahead of others who were waiting in line.

In my humble opinion, I think the Court got it right. If the law states that an “aged out” child must go to the back of the line, then the Court had no choice but to defer to Congress. I suspect that this unlikely consequence was not contemplated by Congress at the time the legislation was passed. It appears from the Senate leadership that they would support an amendment to the law that prevented such a consequence when turning 21 but, such amendments require cooperation from both sides. And, it hardly seems likely that Congress can get together and fix this problem in the near future. Therefore, once again, our government is failing to meet the needs our our young adults.

What do you think?

Mirque Law PLLC is a value driven immigration law firm helping individuals, families, and employees obtain legal status in the United States. If you have an immigration matter, please give us a call at 616-233-9300 to set up a Immigration Status Strategy Session.


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