In Sanchez v. Mayorkas, No. 20-315 (June 7, 2021), a unanimous Supreme Court opinion written by Justice Kagan held that an individual who entered the United States unlawfully is not eligible to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) under 8 U.S.C. SS 1255 even if the United States has granted the individual temporary protected status (TPS). Because petitioner Jose Santos Sanchez did not enter the US lawfully, his TPS does not eliminate the effect of that unlawful entry.
Petitioner Jose Santos Sanchez is a citizen of El Salvador who challenged the denial of his application to become a LPR of the US. Sanchez entered the US unlawfully in 1997. In 2001, the Government granted him TPS, which allows foreign nationals of a country designated by the Government as having unusually bad or dangerous conditions to live and work in the US while the conditions last. In 2014, Sanchez applied under SS1255 of the immigration laws to obtain LPR status. Section 1255 provides a way for a "nonimmigrant"--a foreign national lawfully present in this country on a temporary basis--to obtain an "[a]djustment of status" to LPR. 8 U. S. C. SS1255. The United States Citizenship and immigration Services determined Sanchez ineligible for LPR status because he entered the United States unlawfully. Sanchez successfully challenged that decision before the District Court, which reasoned that Sanchez's TPS required treating him as if he had been lawfully admitted to the country for purposes of his LPR application. The Third Circuit reversed, finding Sanchez's unlawful entry into the country precluded his eligibility for LPR status under SS1255, notwithstanding his TPS. The Supreme Court affirmed.
Certiorari and merits briefing are available on the Supreme Court's website here. The oral argument is available here. The training division provides resources on immigration and offenses involving non-citizensand immigration consequences of conviction, as well as numerous program materials and videos implicating immigration laws on the password protected side of www.fd.org.