Friday, July 19, 2024

Supreme Court Rules Against Immigrants with Temporary Status

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that thousands of people living in the U.S. for humanitarian reasons are not eligible to apply for a green card.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote that federal immigration law prohibits people who entered the country undocumented and have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from becoming permanent residents. The designation applies to people who come from countries affected by war or natural disasters.

TPS protects them from deportation and allows them to work. Currently, there are 400,000 people from 12 countries with TPS status.

The outcome in a case involving a couple from El Salvador who have been in the U.S. since the early 90’s turned on whether people who entered the country undocumented and were given humanitarian protections were ever “admitted” into the U.S. under immigration law. Justice Kagan wrote that they were not, “the TPS program gives foreign nationals nonimmigrant status, but it does not admit them. So, the conferral of TPS does not make an unlawful entrant…eligible.”

However, the House of Representative has already passed legislation that would make it possible for TPS recipients to become permanent residents. But the bill faces uncertainty in the Senate.

The case pitted the Biden administration against immigrant groups that argued many people who came to the U.S. for humanitarian reasons have lived in the country for many years, given birth to American citizens and putting down roots in the U.S.

Kagan noted that the decision doesn’t affect immigrants with TPS who entered the U.S. lawfully and then overstayed their visa because they were lawfully admitted to the country and were later given humanitarian protection, they can seek to become permanent residents.