Many TPS Holders in Ninth Circuit May Become Residents

Lawful permanent resident.

Of course, that is provided that they meet all other requirements. TPS does not provide blanket eligibility. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers the Western States, including California, ruled in Ramirez v. Brown that a grant of TPS to a noncitizen qualifies as an “inspection and admission.” TPS stands for Temporary Protected Status and is a humanitarian program. USCIS may grant TPS status to nationals of foreign countries where there has been a temporary condition such as an environmental disaster or ongoing armed conflict, for example, and that country cannot handle return of its citizens safely. Such countries include El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. In and of itself, TPS status provides work and travel authorization, and makes the person not removable from the U.S. They applicant must meet certain eligibility factors and have been in the U.S. when TPS was designated.

Those in TPS status who were not initially “inspected and admitted” at the time of their arrival to the United States, who are married to U.S. citizens to apply for permanent resident status. Inspection and admission is an eligibility requirement for applying for adjustment of status to permanent resident in the U.S. without having to leave the U.S. to apply for an immigrant visa. Generally, those who have overstayed their visas (over 180 days or over one year) or who were not initially inspected and who leave the U.S. can be barred from returning for three to 10 years. People who are inspected and admitted are usually those who enter the U.S. at the airports or land borders with visas or through the ESTA program (visa waiver).

In the underlying Ninth Circuit case, the Court overturned a USCIS denial of a Salvadoran applicant’s green card application based on his marriage to a U.S. citizen because he did not have inspection and admission. The Ninth Circuit ruled that Congress intended a grant of TPS to serve as an inspection and admission for purposes of any subsequent application for permanent residence by a TPS recipient.

This ruling is an important ease to the eligibility requirements that can provide applicants the ability to apply for green card status without having to worry about issues surrounding travel outside the U.S., either through advance parole or a stateside waiver. It is especially important at this time while DACA and TPS are under threat. I do want to clarify that point as well. It is my understanding from those who have spoken with congressional offices that they do not believe removal (deportation from the U.S.) is a priority if the DACA and TPS programs end. The priority is to end the programs for political reasons. Thus, any gain made in the courts that will allow another segment of the population to apply for residence is significant.

📷: Max Braun.

By Grace Alano.  Grace Alano is an immigration attorney at Alano Immigration in San Francisco, CA. Find Grace Alano on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.

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