A divided Supreme Court sided with the Obama administration on Monday in a ruling that will effectively mean many "aged out" immigrants will have to wait several more years to obtain a visa. In other words, if a parent applies for a visa for their family, but one of their children turns 21 before they reach the front of the line (the wait can take years), that "aged out" child will probably have to start his or her wait all over again as an adult.
As the Associated Press explains, the case centered around the story of Rosalina Cuellar de Osorio, who applied for a visa with her then-13-year-old kid. When de Osorio finally got an available visa, her son had already turned 21, meaning that he could no longer go along for the ride on his mother's application. He was put at the back of the visa waiting list, and waited years before he was finally granted one. The Supreme Court decision reverses one from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in de Osorio's favor.
In her opinion for the court, Justice Elena Kagan determined that the court had to defer to the interpretation of the law by the Board of Immigration Appeals. That board only grants an exception for an "aged-out" child on a family visa application if, in Kagan's words, "those aged-out aliens who qualified or could have qualified as principal beneficiaries of a visa petition, rather than only as derivative beneficiaries piggy-backing on a parent." That only applies to a small portion of "aged out" applicants.