Posted on June 21, 2024

US Supreme Court Says Citizens Can’t Sue Over Foreign Spouses’ Visa Denials

Daniel Wiessner, Reuters, June 21, 2024

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday said the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens are not violated when the government bars their non-citizen spouses from entering the country without explanation.

The court in a 6-3 decision said Sandra Munoz, a U.S. citizen and civil rights lawyer, cannot challenge the U.S. Department of State’s denial of her El Salvadoran husband’s visa application after the agency waited three years to explain that it suspected him of being a gang member.

Munoz and her husband, who she married in 2010 and with whom she has a child, have been separated since 2015, according to court filings.

Visa denials are not reviewable in court unless the government violates an applicant’s constitutional rights in the process.

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected Munoz’s claim that the delay in explaining the denial violated her due process rights by interfering with her fundamental right to marry.


The ruling reverses a 2022 decision by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that revived Munoz’s lawsuit against the State Department.


The Immigration Reform Law Institute, a conservative group that filed a brief backing the State Department, praised the ruling.

“To hold for this couple would let those Americans who choose to marry dangerous aliens force their choice on the rest of us,” Dale Wilcox, the group’s executive director and general counsel, said in a statement.

Munoz sued the State Department in 2017 after the agency declined to reconsider its earlier denial of her husband’s visa, and before it explained its determination. {snip}