featured graphic for the United States Supreme Court during COVID-19

US Supreme Court unanimously rules on immigrant status case

The United States Supreme Court issued an unusual unanimous decision in the case of noncitizens seeking to change their immigration status from Temporary Protect Status to lawful permanent residency.

From an article by Maryellen Fullerton at SCOTUSblog:

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday that noncitizens who have been granted temporary humanitarian relief from deportation cannot use the process known as “adjustment of status” to obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States without leaving the country. The court ruled in Sanchez v. Mayorkas that adjustment of status is reserved for those who were inspected at the border and admitted to the United States by an immigration officer, thus disqualifying the majority of those granted Temporary Protected Status. Justice Elena Kagan wrote the opinion for the court.

The case was based on the personal history of Jose Sanchez and Sonia Gonzalez, who entered the United States illegally in the 1990s. They were granted Temporary Protected status because of destructive earthquakes in El Salvador, their country of origin.

Sanchez’s employer filed an immigration-visa petition for him as a skilled worker, which was approved and granted him lawful permanent residency. Gonzalez, his wife, was approved at the same time.

The hitch is that the couple were not inspected at the border. The adjustment of status can only be applied to those inspected and admitted at the border.