Court Rulers Aliens Who Overstay Can Remain To Appeal

Court rules aliens who overstay can remain to appeal

By Tom Ramstack
The Washington Times
June 17, 2008

The Supreme Court decided Monday to make it easier for foreigners to overstay their visas while they defend their right to stay in the United States.

In a 5-4 ruling, the court said that foreigners can withdraw their voluntary agreements to leave and remain in the U.S. while they challenge the government's efforts to remove them.

Voluntary agreements give foreign visitors who overstay their visas time to challenge their deportation if their circumstances show a need to remain.

Until the court's decision, foreigners could use administrative procedures to stay in the country, but they still had to leave when their visas expired or at a time listed in their voluntary agreements.

The issue arose from the case of Samson Dada, a Nigerian who stayed in the U.S. after his tourist visa expired in 1998. He married an American the following year, then submitted documents to immigration officials asking to remain as the spouse of a U.S. citizen.

After he and his wife failed to submit documentation on time, Mr. Dada was ordered to leave the country. Later, he was given a new date to leave under a voluntary agreement but continued to seek a visa.

The court ruled that Mr. Dada could withdraw his voluntary agreement and remain in the U.S. while he seeks legal authority to stay.

David Frederick, a D.C. lawyer who filed an amicus brief in the case, said the ruling would apply to a small number of immigrants, adding that the ruling interpreted a technical provision of immigration law.

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