Undocumented Immigrants with Temporary Protection Status Are Ineligible for Permanent Citizenship, Supreme Court Rules

Written by on June 8, 2021


On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that undocumented immigrants with temporary protection status (TPS) are ineligible for a green card, which grants them permanent citizenship.

According to The christian Post, the nation’s high court ruled unanimously in the case of Sanchez V. Mayorkas that a man who entered the U.S. illegally from El Salvador was unable to become a lawful permanent resident, despite having TPS.

Jose Santos Sanchez, the petitioner in the case, is a citizen of El Salvador who illegally entered the U.S. in 1997.

He and his wife Sonia received TPS in 2001 following a series of earthquakes in El Salvador. The couple has four kids together, with the youngest being born in the U.S.

Justice Elena Kagan, who authored the court’s opinion, concluding that while the “TPS program gives foreign nationals nonimmigrant status,” it “does not admit them” regardless.

Kagan explained the difference between the terms “lawful status” and “admission,” arguing that they “are distinct concepts in immigration law: Establishing one does not necessarily establish the other.”

“On the one hand, a foreign national can be admitted but not in lawful status — think of someone who legally entered the United States on a student visa, but stayed in the country long past graduation,” the justice wrote.

“On the other hand, a foreign national can be in lawful status but not admitted—think of someone who entered the country unlawfully, but then received asylum,” she added.

While Sanchez is allowed “to remain in the country” under the TPS program, the statute “does not constructively ‘admit’ a TPS recipient,” Kagan said.

Sanchez had sought to apply for legal permanent resident status in 2014, but the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services rejected his application, ruling that he was ineligible because he is an undocumented immigrant.

The ruling was then challenged by Sanchez and his wife. In 2018, the U.S. The District Court for the District of New Jersey ruled in the couple’s favor.

Last year, a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled unanimously that “a grant of TPS does not constitute an admission.”

“Congress created an exception to the admission requirement for some aliens but did not do so for TPS recipients,” wrote Third Circuit Court Judge Thomas Hardiman for the panel.

In March, a bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that provides TPS immigrants with a pathway to citizenship under certain stipulations.

Photo courtesy: William Murphy/Pixabay


Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.

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