Progressive Democrats have long faced criticism in their push for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
In a U.S. Supreme Court ruling this week, justices eliminated one possible avenue by which the left could have achieved its goal.
Background on the case
According to reports, the ruling handed down on Monday determined that immigrants on Temporary Protected Status cannot apply for a green card if they originally entered the country illegally. To the surprise of some Americans, the conservative-leaning court arrived at a unanimous decision on the hot-button issue.
Analysts noted that individuals who have received TPS may temporarily remain in the U.S. and will be permitted to continue working throughout the duration of their stay.
A website operated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explained: “The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.”
The latest ruling on the issue stemmed from the case of plaintiffs Jose Santos Sanches and Sonia Gonzalez, a married couple who entered the nation illegally from El Salvador more than 20 years ago.
They applied for and were subsequently granted TPS after a series of earthquakes rocked their home country and it was deemed unsafe for them to return.
“Lawful entry of the alien”
In 2014, the husband and wife each applied for lawful permanent resident status under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The Supreme Court acknowledged in its ruling that federal law “provides a way for a ‘nonimmigrant’ — a foreign national lawfully present in this country on a temporary basis — to obtain an ‘[a]dustment of status’ to LPR (lawful permanent resident).”
Of course, to be eligible for such a status, an applicant must have entered the country illegally.
LPR status “generally requires an ‘admission’ into the country,” which the Supreme Court defined as “the lawful entry of the alien into the United States after inspection and authorization by an immigrant officer.”
Not only did the plaintiff not go through this process, but the justices also noted that “his TPS does not eliminate the effect of that unlawful entry.”