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U.S. Supreme Court rules that people with TPS are ineligible for green cards

| Jun 17, 2021 | Immigration Law |

People who have come to the U.S. because of serious humanitarian or security issues in their own countries got a disappointing ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court this month. In a unanimous decision, the justices ruled that people living in the U.S. with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) cannot apply for Legal Permanent Residency (LPR) and obtain a green card.

The case that made its way to the highest court in the land involved a man who illegally entered the U.S. from El Salvador back in 1993. He was granted TPS in 2001. However, when he applied for a green card 13 years later, he was told that he wasn’t eligible. 

The issue at hand is whether a person entered the U.S. legally or not. Under federal law, some people can get an adjustment to their legal status. However, they must have been “admitted” to the U.S.

Those with TPS weren’t legally “admitted”

Being given TPS by the U.S. Department of State is not an official admission to the U.S. As Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote the decision for the court, explained, “An ‘admission’ is defined as ‘the lawful entry of the alien into the United States after inspection and authorization by an immigration officer.” She added that “The TPS program gives foreign nationals nonimmigrant status, but it does not admit them.”

This ruling confirms that if a person’s TPS is revoked, they can be deported if they don’t leave on their own. Currently, there are approximately 320,000 people in the U.S. with TPS from a dozen countries throughout the world that have been hard hit by war, gangs, famine and more. These include Haiti, Honduras, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

If you or a loved one has any concerns about your TPS or another immigration status, it’s a good idea to get as much information as possible about the law and perhaps to seek legal guidance.