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Recent Supreme Court decision may force immigrant families apart

For those people in Lancaster who have never had to deal with the immigration system, they may think that everyone's applications are processed relatively quickly and that there isn't much wait to get an immigrant visa and, eventually, be approved for citizenship. Anyone who has dealt with the immigration system, however, is well aware that this is far from true. For some immigrants, depending on where they are from, they could wait years in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa before they are granted permanent residency.

Some people might wonder what the problem is with waiting, and the Supreme Court of the United States just came down with an answer earlier this month: long waits could knock children out of line. Unlike the original purpose of family based immigration, this ruling does not keep families together.

When an immigrant applies for an immigrant visa, his or her children under the age of 21 can be included on his or her application. Similarly, if he or she is already working in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, his or her children can also wait in the U.S. If the children turn 21 before their parents get an immigrant visa, however, they will lose their priority status. Instead, they enter into a legal limbo.

While Congress tried to resolve this problem by passing a law in 2002, the Supreme Court found that the statute was ambiguous. Ultimately, this ruling is leaving many people wondering what is to happen to these young adults who have been waiting for years for an immigrant visa.

Source: The New York Times, “Children ‘Aged Out’ of Immigration System Won’t Get Special Priority, Justices Rule,” James Barron, June 9, 2014

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Law Office of Troy J. Mattes, P.C.
132 East Chestnut Street
Lancaster, PA 17602

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