Supreme Court Unanimously Rules That Temporary Protected Status Holders Cannot Become Lawful Permanent Residents If They Entered US Illegally

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Monday that an illegal alien’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) does not entitle him to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States.

Associate Justice Elena Kagan, one of the court’s liberal justices, wrote the opinion for the Sanchez v. Mayorkas case. Federal immigration law only allows “lawfully admitted” people to become an LPR, but since Jose Santos Sanchez entered the US illegally in the late 1990s, he cannot become an LPR.

Sanchez came to the United States from El Salvador, with the federal government granting him TPS status due to “unsafe living conditions” in his home country. He is only allowed to remain in the US until those unsafe conditions persist.

Many Democratic politicians, immigration lawyers, and activists, according to PJ Media, have tried to argue that all TPS recipients can be considered “admitted” to the United States and therefore eligible for LPR status. In essence, the very fact that one has been granted TPS status entitles him to permanent residency, regardless of how he entered. But this SCOTUS ruling makes it clear that an illegal alien’s protected status does not erase the fact that he violated US immigration law by coming in unlawfully.

The Court’s unanimous decision against Sanchez is significant. A ruling the other way would have opened the door for tens of thousands of TPS holders who entered the country illegally to become LPRs. A lawful permanent resident, unlike a TPS recipient, can apply for citizenship after a few years and also sponsor the permanent residency of close family members. Hence a ruling in favor of Sanchez would have given de facto amnesty and a path to citizenship to all TPS holders who came in illegally.

Since the Left didn’t get its way through the SCOTUS ruling, you can be sure they will not waste time in pivoting away from their loophole argument to call for a wholesale change to the law itself.