No green card for TPS holders after illegal entry

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Four years ago, the 9th Circuit Court in California ruled that TPS recipients were eligible for green cards even if they entered the country illegally.

The other relevant part of the immigration laws, Kagan wrote, allows immigrants, whether they entered the country lawfully or not, to apply for temporary protected status, or TPS.

There are an estimated 400,000 people with TPS in the country now, and 85,000 of them have managed to adjust status, CNN reported.

Writing for the court, liberal Justice Elena Kagan said that 'because a grant of TPS does not come with a ticket of admission, it does not eliminate the disqualifying effect of an unlawful entry'.

In a terse ruling just over eight pages, the Court appears to have anticipated criticism for a ruling that will create harsh consequences for many individuals; SCOTUS unequivocally laid responsibility for its decision at the feet of Congress. §1255, as drafted, clearly requires lawful admission as a prerequisite to obtaining a green card.

It came in a case where the Biden administration, which has been seeking to roll back Trump administration immigration policies, weighed in against the immigrants who sued. In 2001, Sanchez was provided TPS, a nonimmigrant status that allows him to remain in the USA for as long as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extends TPS for El Salvador. If and when TPS status is revoked, they will be expected to return to their home countries or face possible deportation.

"He therefore can not become a permanent resident of this country", Kagan concluded.

The decision turned on a question as to whether people who came to the US illegally, yet were granted humanitarian protections, were ever "admitted" to the country.

"An "admission" is defined as 'the lawful entry of the alien into the United States after inspection and authorization by an immigration officer, '" she wrote.

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The case arose after immigration officials denied a green card application from Jose Santos Sanchez, a citizen of El Salvador.

Sanchez and Gonzalez entered the country separately in 1997 and 1998.

Though the two tracks can sometimes merge, she noted, individuals who enter the country illegally do not become eligible for green cards due to their temporary status.

The couple received Temporary Protected Status following a series of earthquakes in El Salvador in 2001.

While Turley has a point, the Supreme Court often hands down unanimous decisions - yet these decisions do not often gain the same coverage as 5-4 rulings on controversial issues. It held that TPS does not "constitute an admission" into the U.S.

Currently, TPS status can be awarded to immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, Syria, Nepal, Honduras, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Nicaragua, Myanmar, South Sudan and Venezuela.

Conservative justice Clarence Thomas initially suggested the Supreme Court would be reluctant to let immigrants with protected status apply for permanent residency when the case was first presented to the court on April 19.

The Supreme Court agreed that the two were not admitted legally. Unfortunately for Sanchez and Gonzalez, the Court ruled that "nothing in the conferral of TPS changes [§1255's requirement]". But the same is not true of those who entered illegally. But they were not lawfully admitted.

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