The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against permanent status (amnesty) for illegal aliens with Temporary Protect Status.
Daily Caller The Supreme Court ruled Monday in a unanimous decision that illegal aliens living in the U.S. under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program are ineligible to apply to become permanent residents.
Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the court that federal immigration law prohibits TPS recipients from seeking green cards if they entered the country illegally. The justices noted that federal law requires immigrants to have been “inspected and admitted or paroled” in the U.S. prior to seeking permanent residency.
“The TPS program gives foreign nationals nonimmigrant status, but it does not admit them,” Kagan wrote. “So the conferral of TPS does not make an unlawful entrant … eligible” to apply to become a permanent resident. Around 400,000 people from 12 countries living in the U.S. are TPS recipients.
At issue in the case were Jose Sanchez and Sonia Gonzales, a couple from New Jersey who came to the U.S. illegally from El Salvador in 1997. The couple applied for and received TPS following a series of earthquakes in El Salvador in 2001, and later sought to “adjust” their status to become permanent residents in 2014
Sanchez argued that he was “inspected and admitted” into the U.S. under federal immigration law when he received protected status, but both the Trump and Biden administrations disagreed.
After U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denied his application for permanent residency, Sanchez challenged the denial in a federal district court. The court ruled in favor of the couple, though the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed the lower court’s decision.
The court noted there was “no dispute” that Sanchez entered the U.S. “unlawfully, without inspection” and that a “straightforward” application of immigration law supported the Trump and Biden administrations’ decision to prevent him from applying for a green card.
In two other unanimous decisions, the Supreme Court has rejected rules that provided protections for illegal aliens The rejected rules came from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, a court with a reputation as a far-left stronghold whose decisions have been overturned more times by the Supreme Court than any other appeals court.
Immigration Impact In United States v. Palomar-Santiago, the Supreme Court held last week that a person who is wrongly ordered deported and returns without permission can still be convicted of felony illegal reentry, unless they meet certain strict procedural requirements. The government deported Mr. Palomar-Santiago, a legal permanent resident, arguing that his conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) was an “aggravated felony.”
Aggravated felony” is a term of art used to describe a category of offenses carrying particularly harsh immigration consequences for noncitizens convicted of such crimes. Regardless of their immigration status, noncitizens who have been convicted of an “aggravated felony” are prohibited from receiving most forms of relief that would spare them from deportation, including asylum, and from being readmitted to the United States at any time in the future.
Six years later, the Supreme Court held that a DUI is not an aggravated felony. As Justice Sotomayor acknowledged, “Palomar-Santiago’s removal order thus never should have issued.”
Even so, the Supreme Court held that Palomar-Santiago could still be convicted of the felony offense of unlawful reentry after a removal order, unless he could prove that he challenged his original removal order or was prevented from doing so.
Title 8 of the U.S. Code identifies federal criminal offenses pertaining to immigration and nationality, including the following two entry-related offenses:
“Illegal Entry”/8 U.S.C. § 1325 makes it a crime to unlawfully enter the United States. It applies to people who do not enter with proper inspection at a port of entry, such as those who enter between ports of entry, avoid examination or inspection, or who make false statements while entering or attempting to enter. A first offense is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine, up to six months in prison, or both.
“Illegal Re-Entry”/8 U.S.C. § 1326 makes it a crime to unlawfully reenter, attempt to unlawfully reenter, or to be found in the United States after having been deported, ordered removed, or denied admission. This crime is punishable as a felony with a maximum sentence of two years in prison. Higher penalties apply if the person was previously removed after having been convicted of certain crimes: up to 10 years for a single felony conviction (other than an aggravated felony conviction) or three misdemeanor convictions involving drugs or crimes against a person, and up to 20 years for an aggravated felony conviction.
The Ninth Circuit had previously held that if a noncitizen was ordered deported for an offense that did not actually make them deportable, the person did not have to meet these procedural requirements in the criminal statute.
The Supreme Court issued a second decision with a similarly unfavorable outcome on June 1. In Garland v. Dai, the Supreme Court justices rejected a Ninth Circuit rule protecting asylum seekers challenging their deportation orders.
Under this rule the Ninth Circuit accepted a noncitizen’s testimony as true, unless an immigration judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals made an explicit finding that the noncitizen was not believable. The Supreme Court held that a court of appeals must accept the agency’s findings of fact—even if the agency failed to adopt the noncitizen’s version of events without expressly finding that the person was not believable—unless “any reasonable adjudicator would be compelled to conclude to the contrary.”
In less than two weeks, the Supreme Court struck down two Ninth Circuit decisions that favored illegal aliens.