Pinoys welcome possible extensions of aged out petitions

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jan 24 2014 05:14 PM | Updated as of Jan 25 2014 01:14 AM

GLENDALE, California - While comprehensive immigration reform has been slowed down in Congress, Filipinos believe they're reaping the benefits of recent court rulings that give their aged out children a chance to join them in the US.

For journalist Sid Balatan, he welcomes any court decisions that would allow aged out children to continue their petitions. He believes such rulings may help bring his two children, ages 26 and 27, to the US sooner than he originally thought.

"It would really help us to immediately complete the whole family because every family wants to complete all members," Balatan said.

When he moved to the US from the Philippines in 2011 on his mother-in-law's petition, he had to leave two of his children behind because they were both over 21 by the time the petitions were approved.

"When the petition was approved in the Philippines, we were able to bring our two young children because they were under 21. But the other two children were already aged out so they're not automatically with us in the US," he said.

He believes a previous ruling in California may be working in his favor, a 2012 9th Circuit decision that allows now expired petitions made before a child aged out at 21 to be re-filed.

"I quoted that and wrote the INS about that ruling so after 8 months, we received a reply that the petition was already approved and it's already being processed by the other agencies," he said.

The US Supreme Court is currently considering allowing children who turned 21 while waiting for petitions to be approved to continue, possibly paving the way for them to join their families in the US, and for those already here on expired petitions to remain in the US legally.

When it comes to family petitions, the Philippines has one of the longest petition wait times averaging over 20 years.

"Basta family reunification. That's very important," he said.

Rudy Feran Is also hoping this ruling can bring his grandchildren to the US even though his children have since aged out and started families since his original petitions two decades ago.

"Ang gusto ko, bigyan ng magandang chance ang bata niya dahil mga anak niya smart, mabigyan ng chance sa America," he said.

Balatan and Feran now play the waiting game, hoping the court's decision affects their families for the better.