The Supreme Court made it easier Monday for some foreigners who overstay their visas to seek to remain in the United States legally.
The court ruled 5-4 Monday that someone who is here illegally may withdraw his voluntarily agreement to depart and continue to try to get approval to remain in the United States.
The decision essentially embraced a proposed Justice Department regulation governing the treatment of similar cases in the future.
Samson Dada, a Nigerian citizen, stayed beyond the expiration of his tourist visa in 1998. He married an American the following year and soon began trying to obtain a visa as an immediate relative of a citizen. But Dada and his wife apparently failed to submit some documents, causing immigration officials to deny the visa.
He agreed to leave voluntarily, which would allow him to try sooner to re-enter the country legally than if he had been deported.
Immigration authorities recently ruled that Dada had entered a “sham” marriage in order to stay in the United States, but that finding was not part of the court’s consideration.
The case is Dada v. Mukasey, 06-1181.