Two courts of appeals have held that a grant of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) may make an individual eligible for adjustment of status. The two cases, Ramirez v. Brown and Flores v. USCIS, make TPS recipients who initially entered without inspection (EWI) eligible to adjust their status to permanent resident (green card holder).
What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
TPS is a designation by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on a foreign country due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country's nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.
How does DHS make this designation?
DHS may designate a country for TPS due to the following temporary conditions in the country:
- Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war)
- An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic
- Other extraordinary and temporary conditions
Which countries have the TPS Designation?
The following are a list of countries with the TPS Designation. For more information, including TPS period, please follow this link to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) webpage:
- El Salvador
- South Sudan
What are the benefits of TPS?
During the TPS period, TPS beneficiaries may not be removed (deported) from the United States, can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD), and may be granted travel authorization. Although TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or gives any other immigration status, a TPS beneficiary may apply to change status or for any other immigration benefit for which they are eligible.
However, before Ramirez and Flores, this posed a problem for TPS beneficiaries that entered without inspection (commonly known as EWI) as only those who are “inspected and admitted or paroled” into the United States may apply to change their status and apply for a green card.
Who is eligible to apply for a green card under Ramirez and Flores?
A large number of TPS recipients are able to adjust to lawful permanent residence under Ramirez and Flores. To benefit from these decisions, the individual must:
- Have entered the United States without inspection prior to receipt of TPS;
- Currently be in valid TPS status;
- Be otherwise eligible for adjustment. This means that: 1) a visa must be immediately available for the person; 2) he or she is not inadmissible, and none of the statutory or regulatory bars to adjustment apply.
- Live within a state within the jurisdiction of the Sixth (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee) or Ninth (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington) Circuits.
If you are affected by this development and would like information about the process and eligibility, please contact us. We are here to help. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Tumblr for up-to-date immigration news.
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