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Immigration Benefits Denied To Adoptee’s Sister

PHILADELPHIA (CN) - The Board of Immigration Appeals had the discretion to decide that the immigrant siblings of adopted U.S. citizens do not qualify for visa preference, the 3rd Circuit ruled.

Wan-Swin Kosak, a Taiwan native, was adopted by an aunt and uncle in the United States and filed for immigrant benefits on behalf of her biological sister, Wan-Gin Hwang. When a visa became available, the U.S. consulate in Taiwan refused to issue it on the basis that biological siblings of an adopted child cannot receive immigration benefits, including visa preference.

Kosak filed suit under the Immigration and Nationality Act, which grants visa preference to "qualified immigrants who are the brothers or sisters of citizens of the United States."

A three-judge panel unanimously ruled that because the law "is silent with regard to the meaning of 'brother' and 'sister,'" the board had the right to exclude the biological siblings of internationally adopted children from visa preference.

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