WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE SANCHEZ DECISION

Updated 7/2/2021

On June 7, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that TPS (Temporary Protected Status) holders who entered the U.S. without inspection, or authorization, are not eligible to apply for green cards, lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, in the U.S. While this is devastating for many individuals who are otherwise, and would later become, eligible to apply for green cards based on family or employer sponsorship, this decision does not affect TPS generally. Here is what you should know about the Court’s decision.

The Sanchez decision does not affect TPS status!
The Sanchez decision does not affect an individual’s TPS. TPS remains in effect for all affected countries, which include: Myanmar (Burma), El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.

The Sanchez decision does not impact all TPS holders.
While the Court’s decision is devastating for many TPS holders and their families, this decision does not apply to individuals who have already been inspected and admitted into the U.S., such as, for example, those who were admitted to the U.S. on visa and later obtained TPS. This decision also does not apply retroactively to individuals who have already been granted their LPR status according to prior good law in their circuits. The Court’s decision impacts only those who entered without inspection.

What does the Sanchez decision mean?
Generally, to be eligible to apply for a green card, an individual must have been “inspected and admitted or paroled” into the U.S. The Sanchez decision ruled that TPS holders who entered without inspection and have a pathway to LPR status, such as through employment or family sponsorship, are now ineligible to apply for LPR status because of their unlawful entry into the U.S. This is because, the Supreme Court decided, individuals with TPS who entered the U.S. without authorization do not satisfy the “admission” requirement.  Because many TPS holders entered the U.S. without a visa, for example, this decision closes the door on TPS holders’ ability to apply for a green card if they had a pathway to do so in the future.

How does the Sanchez decision affect advance parole?
Advance parole gives people in various statuses permission to temporarily travel abroad and return. The Supreme Court’s decision does not address the issue of whether a TPS holder who travels on advance parole is eligible to apply for a green card. However, in August 2020, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adopted a negative decision, Matter of Z‑R‑Z‑C, which found that TPS holders who travel on advance parole do not satisfy the “inspected and admitted or parole” requirement necessary for applying for a green card. This undid USCIS’ long-standing practice and treatment of TPS holders’ travel on advance parole as eligible for green cards. As such, there is currently no positive guidance which enables TPS holders who travel on advance parole to be eligible for green cards.

The Sanchez decision is not in effect yet.
This decision has not taken effect yet, but will usually take effect about a month from its issuance. We can expect the decision to take effect soon.

Seek Legal Advice
If you are a TPS holder, or a former TPS holder, and have questions about how the Court’s decision impacts you, it is important to seek legal advice. Visit iAmerica.org/legalhelp.

It is also important for individuals in TPS to investigate whether they may be eligible for any other type of immigration relief and, if not, to explore their options affecting everything from mortgages to family arrangements. Online tools to help find a path that’s right for you and to make a plan are available here.

What You Can Do Now
Take action. This decision underscores the need for Congress to act and pass the Dream and Promise Act, or a provision allowing any undocumented immigrants, or TPS holders, to adjust status without regard to how they originally entered the U.S. Call Congress and urge them to act quickly to provide a path to citizenship for TPS holders, Dreamers, essential workers and the 11 million undocumented: 1-888-204-8353.

Stay Tuned!
Lawsuits concerning TPS continue to make their way through the courts. Stay tuned for updates on how these lawsuits might impact TPS.


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