Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP

Federal Court Finds Surviving Spouses Are Entitled to Immediate Relative Status


On May 1, 2009, a California federal court ruled on a national class action lawsuit challenging the “widow penalty.” The court found that plaintiffs residing in the Ninth and Sixth Circuits are entitled to immediate relative classification as surviving spouses of deceased U.S. citizens. The court said the “defendants are cautioned that they may not use factors arising from their improper denial of plaintiffs’ applications to again deny the petition and application upon reopening them…Defendants are hereby ordered to reopen the immediate relative petitions and applications for adjustment of status and immigrant visas of plaintiffs in the Sixth and Ninth Circuits, and to adjudicate them in a manner consistent with the holding of the Court.”

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