In a rare 9-0 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a person entering the country illegally, and later granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for humanitarian reasons, is not automatically eligible to become a permanent resident of the U.S.
The TPS designation applies to individuals who come from countries ravaged by war or disaster. It protects them from summary deportation and allows them to work legally. There are 400,000 people in the U.S. from 12 countries with the status, according to ABC News.
TPS is only available for citizens of the following nations:
- El Salvador
- Burma (Myanmar)
- South Sudan
“The TPS program gives foreign nationals non-immigrant status, but it does not admit them. So the conferral of TPS does not make an unlawful entrant …. eligible,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her legal opinion, Post Millennial reported. “TPS recipient who entered the United States unlawfully is not eligible …. for [lawful permanent resident] status merely by dint of his TPS.”
Not all of the 400,000 TPS recipients are affected by Monday’s SCOTUS ruling, as many of them originally entered the country through legal channels. As a result, they remain eligible for permanent residency.