Photo by Ian Hutchinson via Unsplash

The Sanchez v. Mayorkas court case concerning the residency status of Jose Sanchez and his partner Sonia Gonzales, after they fled the earthquake-ridden El Salvador in 1997 and 1998, is now challenging the overall qualification process of immigrant communization twenty-three years later.

In a new Supreme Court ruling addressing Mr. Sanchez and Ms. Gonzales’ case, foreigners emigrating to the United States as Temporary Protected Status residents (TPS) will no longer be considered for eligibility to become nationalized.

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In light of this recent ruling by the Supreme Court, debate and disagreements surfaced regarding what this ruling will indicate. In regard to Sanchez v. Mayorkas, the dispute is in regard to implication.

Justice Elena Kagan who delivered the opinion in court remains adamant that unlawful entrance does not allow for eligibility for a green card. 

“He [Jose Sanchez] therefore cannot become a permanent resident of this country,” Justice Kagan said.

Further contradictory opinions clashed when a district court ruled in favor of Sanchez and his partner, but an appeal denied the decision to grant them citizenship. Micheal R. Huston, the assistant to the U.S. solicitor general, made clear the difference between temporary status and actual admissions into the country as a prospective citizen.

The lawyer representing Sanchez and Gonzales, Amy M. Saharia, contested that being admitted is ”inherent in the TPS status.” 

Countries currently covered under TPS in America include Haiti, El Salvador, Syria, Nepal, Honduras, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Nicaragua, Myanmar, South Sudan, and Venezuela, according to the American Immigration Council.

TPS is granted to incoming immigrants from countries that are facing hardships. Extreme cases include war-torn countries, victims of natural disasters, and extreme living conditions. In the case of Sanchez and Gonzales, it was earthquakes that led them to flee. For Haitians, it was the 2010 7.0 magnitude earthquake. And, for Syrians, it was the 2011 Syrian civil war.

But TPS isn’t a perpetual status. The status either expires or is extended by TPS, depending on the conditions of the states in question. East African country Rwanda, for example, was granted TPS in June  1995 following the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. Their status, however, expired in December 1997, three years after the genocide concluded.

The 400,000 TPS immigrants in question, those of whom include Dreamers, refugees, higher education seekers, and other travelers, all remain within the U.S. under refugee programs, student or work visas, or as tourists. 

A little more than 21% of immigrants, around 85,000, have successfully applied for and were granted American green cards. However, the adjustment process from a temporary resident to a permanent resident will now be more challenging, subsidizing the number of immigrant green-card holders in America moving forward.

This rule specifically affects those under TPS who have entered the United States illegally, thus, entering the US without being inspected and admitted or paroled into the nation. Those who’ve entered as refugees, students, workers, and tourists are eligible to seek citizenship. Furthermore, visitors who exceed their visitation expiration date are also eligible to seek citizenship. 

To qualify for permanent residency in the U.S. under TPS, immigrants seeking residence and/or citizenship in the United States must maintain lawful status and must initially enter the country lawfully to be considered for citizenship.

Written ByRachelle Barrett

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