The Supreme Court unanimously held Monday that immigrants in the United States who are temporarily protected from deportation are not eligible for a green card if they entered the country illegally.
“…immigration laws provides a way for a “nonimmigrant”—a foreign national lawfully present in this country on a designated, temporary basis—to obtain an “[a]djustment of status” making him [a lawful permanent resident (LPR)],” Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the unanimous court, noting that eligibility depends on “admission” into the U.S. “And an “admission” is defined as ‘the lawful entry of the alien into the United States after inspection and authorization by an immigration officer.’”
The case, Sanchez v. Mayorkas, involved Jose Sanchez and Sonia Gonzales, a couple who moved to the United States illegally over 20 years ago.
The pair applied for and were granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS), blocking them from deportation, after several earthquakes hit El Salvador in 2001. In 2014, the couple attempted to become lawful permanent residents and applied for a green card, but were denied by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services because they had entered the country illegally and were never formally admitted to the U.S.