A divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that nearly all immigrant children who turn 21 while waiting for their families’ visa application to be approved will have to restart the process. The 5-to-4 decision came before the court in Scialabba v. Cuellar de Osorio, a case involving an immigrant from El Salvador, Rosalina Cuellar de Osorio, who applied for a visa along with her then 13-year-old son. Once her son turned 21, he was told that he no longer qualified as an eligible child, resulting in him being placed at the back of the line and waiting several more years for a visa.
The ruling will affect tens of thousands of immigrant children who “age out” of the system every year while waiting for their families’ green cards to be approved, according to government estimates. However, this ruling will not affect the thousands of unaccompanied minors traveling across the U.S. – Mexico border.