Immigrants might have to wait longer to bring their now-adult children to the United States after they themselves had waited years to get here, a federal appeals court has ruled.
A three-judge panel for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that a 2002 law aiming to prevent lengthy processing from affecting children's immigration applications does not enable all of the children, once they are grown, from immigrating to the U.S. quickly.
It can take more than a decade to obtain a green card through a relative, but only children under 21 can immigrate on their parents' petitions. That means children may wait years to get a green card with their parents only to find out they got too old to qualify for one while they were waiting.
Immigration attorneys argued that the 2002 law meant these now-grown children should be allowed here soon after their parents, now green card holders, filed paperwork on their behalf.
But Citizenship and Immigration Services argued these now-grown children were new applicants and must start the process anew. That can be years more waiting, especially for immigrants from countries such as the Philippines and Mexico due to country-based immigration quotas.
Immigration attorneys who argued the case say thousands of immigrants face similar delays in bringing their children here. The attorneys will likely request a rehearing before the full appeals court, said Carl Shusterman, one of the attorneys representing immigrants in the suit.