Supreme Court rule against immigrants in temporary situation seeking green cards

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“Today’s decision is not only a blow to immigrants currently in temporarily protected status who have not entered the United States legally; it also reinforces the obstacles Dreamers will face until then.” unless Congress provides a statutory route to some sort of permanent legal status,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

“The executive branch may have some authority to grant temporary legal status to those who cross the border without permission, but the Supreme Court today emphasized that indirectly, only Congress can give a permanent answer,” he said. ,” They said.

The case pertains to Jose Sanchez and Sonia Gonzales, a New Jersey couple who immigrated to the US illegally in 1997 and 1998 and now have four children. Their youngest child was born in the US and is a citizen.

After a series of earthquakes in El Salvador in 2001, he applied for and received temporary protected status, which protects foreign nationals in the US from removal if their country is subject to armed conflict or environmental disasters. In 2014, the couple sought to apply to “adjust” their status to become lawful permanent residents and apply for a green card.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services rejected his application, noting that he was ineligible to apply because he had not entered the country legally and was never formally admitted to the US.

The case was facing two sections of immigration law: one that says people in TPS should be treated as “maintaining lawful status”, and another which says that in order to accommodate status, one in TPS The person must be legally admitted.

Kagan said granting TPS status doesn’t make illegal entrants like Sanchez eligible for a green card.

Kagan said there was “no dispute” that Sanchez entered the US “illegally, without oversight”. She said a “direct” application of immigration law supports the government’s decision to deny her status as a lawful permanent resident because she was not legally admitted.

“Therefore he cannot become a permanent resident of this country,” concluded Kagan.

Currently, there are around 400,000 people with TPS status in the country and 85,000 people have been able to adjust to the status.

Although a district court ruled in favor of the couple, an appeals court overturned. It held that TPS “does not constitute an admission.”

In court, Amy M. Sahariya, counsel for Jose and Sonia Gonzales, argued that being admitted is “natural” in a TPS position. But US Solicitor General’s assistant Michael R. Huston drew a line between status and admission, arguing against the couple.

The government said that while Congress made certain individuals eligible to adjust their status if they met certain criteria and had a sponsor, it was not available to those who did not make a valid entry. . Huston said that the government had “reasonably determined” that Congress had not “established TPS as a special route for permanent residents to non-citizens already due to pre-TPS conduct.” deprived of that privilege.”

He urged the court to adjudicate the position taken by the agency in the matter and said there are “tens of thousands” of TPS holders who have adjusted their status, but they are legally entitled to be a student or a pair or a pair. was admitted as a temporary worker. He said TPS holders are aware that this removal is a temporary form of relief and that it “won’t last forever.” At an early point in the case, the Trump administration argued that those involved in the TPS program could never attempt to obtain a green card. The state of the Biden administration leaves an opportunity for the government to change its mind.

This story has been updated with additional details.

CNN’s Devan Cole contributed to this report.

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