U.S. Supreme Court Rules Citizens Don’t Have Right to Bring Non-Citizen Spouses

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The U.S. Supreme Court has decided that American citizens do not have a constitutional right to bring their non-citizen spouses into the United States.

The 6-3 decision, delivered on Friday, addresses a case brought by Sandra Munoz, a U.S. citizen who sought to secure a visa for her husband, Luis Ascencio-Cordero, a Salvadoran national.

“We hold that a citizen does not have a fundamental liberty interest in her non-citizen spouse being admitted to the country,” Justice Amy Coney Barrett, stated.

The State Department had denied Ascencio-Cordero’s visa application due to suspicions of his association with the violent gang MS-13, based on his tattoos.

Munoz argued that the visa denial infringed upon her marriage rights and sought to challenge the suspicion of her husband’s gang affiliation.

However, Justice Barrett emphasized that while Munoz had suffered harm from the visa denial, it did not entitle her to a constitutional right to participate in her husband’s consular process.

In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor argued that the ruling undermines the fundamental right to marriage established by the landmark Obergefell decision on same-sex marriages.

“Munoz has a constitutionally protected interest in her husband’s visa application because its denial burdened her right to marriage,” she wrote, reiterating the implications for the rights to build a home, maintain intimacy, and raise children together.

The ruling reaffirms the broad powers of Congress to set immigration limits and the executive branch’s role in implementing these policies. Historically, the court has maintained that migrants lack the constitutional right to challenge visa denials; this decision extends that limitation to U.S. citizens as well.

According to The Washington Times, analysts note that thousands of similar cases depend on this ruling’s outcome. Last year, the State Department approved 11 million visas while denying 62,000 applications, including 5,400 for individuals seeking to join U.S. citizen partners.

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