The United States Supreme Court issued a ruling today that could affect hundreds of thousands of recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS). In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that TPS holders who unlawfully entered the United States are ineligible to seek permanent residency because they do not meet the “admitted” requirement to receive a green card. The ruling could affect about 400,000 TPS recipients from 12 countries.
The ruling only prevents TPS recipients who were not legally admitted to the country from pursuing a green card. It does not remove TPS status, change TPS benefits, or otherwise alter the existing TPS program: TPS recipients are still protected from deportation and can legally seek employment in the US. TPS holders who entered the country legally can still seek to become permanent residents, even if their visas had expired and were undocumented prior to being granted TPS.
The Supreme Court case, Sanchez v. Mayorkis, involved Salvadoran man Jose Santos Sanchez, who entered the US as an undocumented immigrant in 1993 and was granted TPS in 2001 after a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck the Central American country. In 2014, Sanchez applied for permanent residence and was found ineligible. The case made its way through the entire court system before the final ruling was issued today.
See the court ruling here.
TPS faced an uncertain future during the Trump administration but has likely entered a more stable situation under the Biden administration. However, with this court ruling, there may be few options for TPS recipients who entered the country without being admitted from finding a permanent future in the United States. If TPS were to end for any of the 12 countries whose citizens are currently eligible for TPS, those citizens would be expected to return voluntarily to their home countries or risk deportation from the US.
The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth works with immigrants to try and find any potential avenue to secure permanent residence in the United States. Our immigration attorneys offer 100% free consultations, so call us today at 888-517-9888.