The Supreme Court ruled that people who entered the U.S. illegally can’t seek permanent residency just because they are now covered by a program that gives them temporary legal status.
The justices on Monday unanimously ruled against Jose Sanchez and Sonia Gonzalez, a married Salvadoran couple who received Temporary Protected Status after El Salvador suffered a series of earthquakes in 2001. The ruling could affect thousands of people covered by the TPS program, which protects immigrants whose home countries are in crisis.
Writing for the court, Justice Elena Kagan said federal law allows green-card applications by temporary residents only if they were admitted into the country legally.
“Sanchez was not lawfully admitted, and his TPS does not alter that fact,” Kagan wrote. “He therefore cannot become a permanent resident of this country.”