Supreme Court Denies Permanent Status to TPS Holders

In a setback for the immigrant community, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that TPS beneficiaries would be ineligible for a green card in most cases. This leaves thousands of TPS holders without the possibility of obtaining permanent status, a devastating decision that affects families all over the United States.

Justice Kagan wrote that while TPS holders are nonimmigrant applicants when it comes to getting a green card, they must go through a process called “inspection and admission” to get approval. The petitioner, Jose Santos Sanchez, argued that all nonimmigrants, TPS holders included, have gone through inspection and admission. The Court disagreed, drawing a distinction between “lawful status” and “admission.” Even if a TPS holder has been admitted to the US, if they entered unlawfully, then they had not undergone inspection and admission.

TPS holders include any nationals who reside in the US from the list of current TPS countries, regardless of how they came into the US. Undocumented immigrants can be granted TPS as long as their country remains on the list. Many TPS holders have been in the US for decades, building lives, families, and careers. The Court’s decision to rob them of an opportunity to remain here permanently is heartbreaking.

However, the fight isn’t over. The American Dream and Promise Act of 2021 could offer TPS holders the ability to apply for a green card, as Justice Kagan noted. While the Supreme Court could see no legal justification for allowing TPS holders to become permanent residents, Congress could offer a way forward.

For updates on your TPS case, speak with our New Jersey TPS attorneys in a confidential consultation.