Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Path to a Green Card for TPS Holders—But Justices Seem Skeptical

According to a report from The Washington Post, the Supreme Court of the United States recently heard oral arguments in the case of Sanchez v. Mayorkas. The issue at stake before the court is whether non-citizens living in the country under ‘Temporary Protected Status’ (TPS) have the right to apply for a green card. Unfortunately, the majority of the justices appeared to express skepticism of allowing a path to a green card for TPS-holders during oral arguments. In this blog post, our Los Angeles immigration lawyer provides a more detailed overview of the case.

Immigration Law Watch: Sanchez v. Mayorkas

Background & Facts

The named petitioners in the case are Jose Sanchez and his wife. Both Mr. Sanchez and Mrs. Sanchez are natives of El Salvador. They entered the United States as undocumented immigrants in the late 1990s. In January of 2001, there was a devastating earthquake in El Salvador. Within weeks, the country endured two more horrific earthquakes. Altogether, more than 1,000 people died, 8,000 were injured, and 150,000 families lost their homes.

To help provide humanitarian relief, the United States government designated El Salvador for temporary protected status (TPS)—a form of immigration relief that protects eligible people from deportation and allows them to obtain an employment authorization document (EAD). TPS has been extended several times for El Salvador. Mr. and Mrs. Sanchez—along with many other TPS-holders—have now been living in the United States for more than two decades.

The Legal Issue

In 2014, Mr. Sanchez and Mrs. Sanchez applied for a green card through the adjustment of status process. However, their application was denied. Upon review, USCIS ruled that they are “statutorily ineligible” for a green card because they were never lawfully admitted into the United States in the first place, even though they have Temporary Protected Status and are allowed to remain in the country.

The legal issue before the Supreme Court: Did USCIS make the correct decision? The nation’s highest court must determine if a TPS recipient is ineligible to apply for a green card through the adjustment of status process.

What Happens Next

In April, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments. The Biden Administration has taken the position that Temporary Protected Status recipients are not able to apply for green cards. Legal observers believe that the justices favored the government’s position on the matter during oral arguments—which means a path to green cards for TPS recipients may be a long-shot, at least without legislative reform. Still, the case bears close attention. A decision on the matter is expected later this year.

Get Help From Our Los Angeles TPS Immigration Attorney

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our Los Angeles green card lawyers are dedicated to providing the highest level of representation to our clients. If you have questions about your immigration options, we are more than happy to sit down with you and discuss your case. Call us now for a confidential case evaluation. We represent clients in Los Angeles, Southern California, and beyond.

Josh Goldstein
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