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Supreme Court

TPS Holders Who Entered the US Unlawfully Don’t Qualify For Green Cards, Says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Monday, June 7, 2021, that protected noncitizens who entered the United States without permission have not been officially admitted into the U.S. and do not qualify to get a Green Card (legal permanent residence). The court case involved a couple from El Salvador who fled their home country to the United States in the 1990s and entered the country illegally seeking humanitarian protection There are currently almost 400,000 people from 12 countries who unlawfully entered the U.S. but also have government authorized Temporary Protected Status (TPS) status for humanitarian reasons. Current immigration law only permits someone who was lawfully admitted to the U.S. to apply for permanent residency (Green Card) status.  

Justice Elena Kagan wrote,

“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” for a Green Card.

TPS holders who entered the U.S. legally under a student or tourist visa or other authorized entry are eligible for permanent residency.

The House of Representatives passed the American Dream and Promise Act in March that would make it possible for TPS recipients who entered the country illegally to become permanent residents, but that bill has not yet passed the Senate.

What Is TPS?

Federal immigration law recognizes that some immigrants merit legal relief when they have been victims of abuse, persecution, violence, or other dangerous situations. Temporary Protected Status grants a work permit and reprieve from deportation to certain people whose countries have experienced natural disasters, armed conflicts or exceptional situations so they can remain temporarily in the United States. 

Over 325,000 TPS recipients from 12 countries including Burma, Somalia, El Salvador and Haiti live in the U.S., according to the National Immigration Law Center. 

Illinois Immigration Law Firm

Godoy Law Office is an established immigration law firm in Chicago and Lombard, Illinois, with attorneys who are ready to help you interpret the law as it applies in your case and apply for legal immigration status if you are eligible. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office at 312-736-0359.  

Godoy Law Office serves the entire Chicago, Illinois area including DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, and Lake Counties. 

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