Illegal immigrants who cheated the system at some point in their lives received bad news this week.
That’s because according to The Hill, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling was handed down on Monday that ruled against the prospect of giving green cards to illegal immigrants who were allowed to reside in the United States for humanitarian reasons — a decision that will also undoubtedly upset a number of Democratic politicians and immigration advocacy groups.
Monday’s unanimous high court ruling affects thousands of illegal immigrants protected under a government-issued Temporary Protective Status, or TPS — which are people who’ve unlawfully entered the United States but were granted special protection for humanitarian reasons.
Liberal Justice Elena Kagan wrote in the decision that the ruling was a “straightforward application” of U.S. law, as the law makes clear that in order for one to be eligible for a green card, one must enter the United States in a lawful fashion.
“The question here is whether the conferral of TPS enables him to obtain LPR [Legal Permanent Residency] status despite his unlawful entry. We hold that it does not,” Kagan wrote, according to ABC News.
What prompted the case in the first place involved an illegal immigrant by the name of Jose Santos Sanchez, originally a resident of El Salvador, who illegally came to the United States in 1997 — and later in 2001 — after a series of earthquakes wreaked havoc in his home country.
Sanchez was later denied a green card, but successfully challenged the denial in a lower court. However, not long after, his denial was reinstated by a federal appeals court, which prompted Sanchez to make a final appeal to the Supreme Court which he ultimately lost.
Of the roughly 320,000 foreign nationals who are currently under the TPS program, many include those who came to the U.S. from Central American countries illegally. Once their TPS status is revoked, they’ll be expected to return to their home countries, though it’s not clear when or how that will take place.
Their last hope is the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021, a bill passed in the House earlier this year that would classify TPS immigrants as having entered the country lawfully. However, the bill is not expected to make it through the Senate.