On Monday, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that thousands of people living in the United States on humanitarian grounds cannot apply for permanent residency if they have entered the country illegally.
“Because a grant of TPS [Temporary Protected Status] does not come with a ticket of admission, it does not eliminate the disqualifying effect of an unlawful entry,” stated Justice Elena Kagan.
Justice Kagan further wrote that federal immigration law prohibits people who entered the country illegally and now have Temporary Protected Status from seeking “green cards” to remain in the country permanently.
The court was hearing a petition filed by a citizen of El Salvador, Jose Santos Sanchez who has been in the United States since 1990 and has applied for a Green Card. He has entered the country illegally.
“A TPS recipient who entered the United States unlawfully is not eligible under §1255 for LPR status merely by dint of his TPS. Section 1255 provides that eligibility for LPR status generally requires an “admission” into the country— defined to mean “the lawful entry of the alien into the United States after inspection and authorization by an immigration officer,” held by the court.
What is Temporary Protected Status Program?
The program shields immigrants from parts of the world undergoing armed conflicts and natural disasters from deportation and allows them to work in the United States.
8 U.S. Code § 1255
Section1255 provides a way for a “nonimmigrant”—a foreign national lawfully present in this country on a temporary basis—to obtain an “adjustment of status” to LPR under 8 U. S. C. §1255.
Over 400,000 people from 12 countries are living with the TPS status in the United States and around 85,000 so far have managed to successfully apply for and gain green cards.