Some Immigrants Who Entered U.S. Illegally Can't Obtain Green Cards: SCOTUS

By Bill Galuccio

June 7, 2021

In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court said that immigrants who were granted Temporary Protected Status but entered the United States illegally cannot apply for green cards.

Temporary Protected Status can be given to people from certain countries for humanitarian reasons due to natural disasters or armed conflict. When those protections are lifted, they are expected to return to their home country.

Currently, the State Department has granted Temporary Protected Status to people from ten countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. According to the Congressional Research Service, there are an estimated 320,000 foreign nationals living in the United States.

The case heard by the Supreme Court involved two immigrants from El Salvadore who came to the United States illegally in the 1990s. In 2001, they were granted Temporary Protected Status following a series of devastating earthquakes in their home country. In 2014, they applied for a green card but were denied because they did not come to the U.S. lawfully.

The Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was correct to deny their application.

"[He] was not lawfully admitted, and his TPS does not alter that fact," Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the court. "He, therefore, cannot become a permanent resident of this country."

Photo: Getty Images

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