In a 5-4 decision on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that children of immigrants with pending visa applications will be sent to the back of the line once they turn 21. The decision will add more than nine years to the wait time of children who “age out” of the system.
The Supreme Court ruling reversed the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which ruled in favor of Rosalina Cuellar de Osorio, a Salvadoran immigrant whose son was moved to the back of the line after eight years of waiting for a green card. In the split decision, the Court sided with the Obama Administration in finding that the Child Status Protection Act passed in 2002 only offers relief to a small category of children who turn 21 while awaiting a green card with their family.
While the Supreme Court agreed with the U.S. government’s interpretation, a group of 26 bipartisan congressmen who were in office when the law was passed, including Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), argued against the government’s interpretation in a brief recently submitted to the court. They maintain that the intent of the law they passed was to promote family unity.