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Supreme Court rules against certain immigrants with temporary protected status

A San Antonio immigration attorney says the previous presidential administration aided in creating uncertainty among immigrants with TPS status.

SAN ANTONIO — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that immigrants who came to the country illegally and were later granted temporary protected status do not qualify for permanent residency.

The decision surrounds the case of an El Salvadorian man who’s been living in the U.S. with his wife since the 1990s. He claims he’s green card eligible. But a federal judge stressed that’s not the case.

San Antonio-based immigration attorney Alfredo Lozano clarifies the court’s ruling.

“For certain types of cases to become a legal permanent resident and do it inside the United States, you have to be inspected and admitted,” Lozano said.

The federal judge concluded the man from El Salvador was not inspected or admitted, therefore unable by law to seek permanent residency.

More than 400,000 foreign nationals live in the U.S. under TPS protections. These are individuals who ventured from countries impacted by war, natural disasters and overall unsafe conditions.

Lozano stressed Monday’s ruling falls short of impacting TPS holders who entered the country legally.

But he said the future is somewhat unclear for TPS recipients, especially after the previous White House administration efforted to phase out the program.

“What’s going to happen? Are they going to take away my TPS or am I going to be able to stay in my country, what do I do with the business that I’ve built up over the last 10-15 years, what do I do with my children who are U.S. citizens,” Lozano said.

Refugee and Immigrant Legal Services (RAICES) provided KENS 5 an emailed statement in response to Monday’s decision.

Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer with RAICES TX, said, 

“We at RAICES are alarmed by the Sanchez v. Mayorkas’ ruling that not all TPS holders are eligible for citizenship. The TPS holders in this case have been in the U.S. for two decades and now their only path towards a green card has been stamped out. What makes the ruling even more egregious is that the vote was unanimous. TPS holders came to the U.S. because of unsafe conditions in their native countries and this ruling prevents them from making a true home here. We call on Congress and the Biden administration to keep their promise and create a pathway toward citizenship for all TPS holders.”