The Supreme Court in the US has ruled that foreigners who overstay their visas can continue to remain in the country to seek legal status. Under some circumstances, people could withdraw their voluntary agreement to leave the US and continue with an application for lawful status, the top court said in a verdict on Monday.
The ruling, jurists have pointed out, would particularly benefit those married to American citizens.
The federal government had earlier taken a position that intending immigrants who left the US would no longer be eligible for a green card and if they stayed in the US longer than authorised, they would be disqualified.
Nadine Wettstein, legal director of the American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF), which filed a Friend of the Court brief in the case, said, “The Court correctly held that immigrants’ rights under the law must be respected.”
The decision resolved majority of visa-related conflicts in the lower courts and involved two parts of the immigration law. One allows people to avoid being deported by agreeing to leave the country voluntarily and the other allows immigrants, who overstay their visas, make their case to immigration officials.