The Supreme Court ruled Monday that up to 400,000 immigrants who gained temporary protected status but came here illegally won’t be able to get green cards – with liberal Justice Elana Kagan such status ‘does not come with an admission ticket.’ 

By Mark Sherman, Associated Press

The Supreme Court was unanimous in its refusal to let immigrants who have been allowed to stay in the United States on humanitarian grounds apply to become permanent residents if they entered the country illegally.

Biden, who has sought to reverse many of his Republican predecessor Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies, had opposed the immigrants in this case, placing the president at odds with immigration advocacy groups and some of his fellow Democrats

it impacts thousands of immigrants who fled to the U.S. following hurricanes and other disasters and who established residency with special protected status. 

It came in a case where the Biden administration, which has been seeking to roll back Trump administration immigration policies, weighed in against the immigrants who sued. 

Supreme Court rules on case of immigrants with temporary protected status

The justices, acting in an appeal by a married couple from El Salvador who were granted so-called Temporary Protected Status (TPS), upheld a lower court ruling that barred their applications for permanent residency, also known as a green card, because of their unlawful entry.

The case could affect 400,000 immigrants, many of whom have lived in the United States for years.

Writing for the court, liberal Justice Elena Kagan (second from top left) said that ‘because a grant of TPS does not come with a ticket of admission, it does not eliminate the disqualifying effect of an unlawful entry’

It came down on a day when Vice President Kamala Harris was visiting Guatemala as part of a trip to address ‘root causes’ of immigration amid a flood of unaccompanied minors from Central America at the southern border. 

President Joe Biden, who has sought to reverse many of Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies, had opposed the immigrants in this case, placing the president at odds with immigration advocacy groups and some of his fellow Democrats.

Foreign nationals can be granted Temporary Protected Status if a humanitarian crisis in their home country, such as a natural disaster or armed conflict, would make their return unsafe. 

There are about 400,000 people in the United States with protected status, which prevents deportation and lets them work legally.

Immigrants here under TPS come from such countries as El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Haiti, and Yemen, nations which have experienced war, disasters, and other hardships.

Besides El Salvador, 11 other countries currently have such designations: Haiti, Honduras, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. Myanmar was the latest addition to the list, placed there by Biden’s administration in the wake of a Feb. 1 military coup there.

Monday’s decision does not affect immigrants with TPS who initially entered the U.S. legally and then, say, overstayed their visa, Kagan noted.

Because those people were legally admitted to the country and later were given humanitarian protections, they can seek to become permanent residents.

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