The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Monday on an immigrant status case regarding noncitizens seeking to change their immigration status from temporary protected status (TPS) to lawful permanent residency. The court decided that noncitizens with temporary humanitarian relief from deportation cannot partake in the “adjustment of status” process to obtain lawful permanent residency in the US without leaving the country.
This case involves Jose Sanchez and Sonia Gonzalez, who entered the US illegally in the 1990s. During this time, both Sanchez and Gonzalez were granted TPS in 2001 as El Salvador, their origin country, was experiencing numerous destructive earthquakes.
Both Sanchez and Gonzalez were granted lawful permanent residency through Sanchez’s employer filing an immigration-visa petition for Sanchez. Although this status was approved and granted, both Gonzalez and Sanchez were not inspected at the border at the time they entered the US, which is a requirement for one to go through the adjustment of status process, as ruled in Sanchez v. Mayorkas. The government relied on the text of Immigration and Nationality Act Section 1255(a), which restricts the in-country adjustment-of-status process to noncitizens who were “inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States.”
The court ruled in favor of the government and rejected Sanchez and Gonzalez’s claim that the TPS statute included a provision making TPS holders eligible for adjustment of status, under Section 1254a(f)(4).