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US Supreme Court Rules US Citizens Do Not Have the Right to Bring Noncitizen Spouses to United States

Posted by Karol Brown | Jun 26, 2024 | 0 Comments

On June 21, 2024, the Supreme Court ruled in a pivotal 6-3 decision that U.S. citizens do not inherently possess the right to bring their noncitizen spouses into the country. This ruling in Department of State v. Munoz has sparked a nationwide debate, particularly among U.S. citizens who are married to non-citizens of the United States.

Understanding the Supreme Court Ruling

The court's ruling in the Munoz case concluded that U.S. citizens do not possess a fundamental right to have their noncitizen spouses admitted into the country. This landmark decision emerged from the case of Sandra Muñoz, a California resident, whose Salvadoran husband, Luis Asencio-Cordero, had his green card application denied without explanation.

Sandra Muñoz is a U.S. citizen and workers' rights attorney. She met Luis Asencio-Cordero, an undocumented Salvadoran immigrant, in 2008. The couple married in 2010 and had a child together. In 2015, Asencio-Cordero was required to travel to the U.S. consulate in El Salvador for his visa interview. After the interview, his visa application was denied due to suspicions of gang affiliation. The visa officer assumed he was involved in gang activities based solely on his tattoos.

Sandra Muñoz argued in her lawsuit that her constitutional rights were violated when her husband's visa was denied without a clear explanation. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals initially ruled in her favor, asserting that she had a liberty interest in her husband's visa application. However, the Supreme Court ultimately reversed this decision, stating that Muñoz had no legal standing in her husband's visa application process.

Implications of the Ruling

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, writing for the majority, emphasized that while Congress can prioritize family unification in immigration laws, the Constitution does not mandate such policies. Barrett highlighted that immigration laws also consider national security and foreign policy.

In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor pointed out the potential repercussions for same-sex couples, who may be forced to live in countries that do not recognize their marriage or that criminalize homosexuality. Justice Sotomayor stressed that the ruling could disproportionately affect individuals with limited legal and financial means.


The Government's Stance

The Biden administration supported the ruling against Muñoz, a stance that surprised many pro-immigration advocates. Charles Roth, representing Muñoz, criticized the decision as undermining due process and separating families without judicial review.

Interestingly, the Supreme Court‘s Munoz ruling came shortly after President Biden introduced a Parole in Place program to ease the path to permanent residency for spouses of U.S. citizens in the country illegally. However, this program would not have benefited Asencio-Cordero, due to the specifics of his case.




This Supreme Court ruling marks a critical turning point in U.S. immigration law, highlighting the delicate balance between family unity, constitutional rights, and national security. Navigating immigration laws can be complex and challenging. If you or a loved one is facing issues related to immigration, it's crucial to have knowledgeable legal guidance on your side.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can assist you in your immigration journey. Whether you're seeking to bring a spouse to the U.S., dealing with visa denials, or exploring pathways to permanent residency, we are committed to providing personalized and effective legal solutions to your immigration needs.

About the Author

Karol Brown

Managing Attorney


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