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On June 7, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court made a unanimous ruling that holders of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) could not use this protection to “fix” a prior illegal entry that would allow them to qualify for a green card. This decision closed a very valuable option for TPS holders from becoming legal residents through the sponsorship of a family member. This ruling meant that TPS holders who entered the U.S. without permission had no other options to successfully change their legal status.
On March 21, 2022, a major victory was won for TPS holders when the government entered a settlement agreement with a plaintiff who sued the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) over the change in policy and the Supreme Court decision. This agreement opened the door for all TPS holders, not just the plaintiff in the case. In the settlement, the government has agreed to provide a new legal option for TPS holders that will remain available until 2025.
Details for this new process will be released in the coming months, but essentially this process applies to all TPS holders with a specific immigration history to be able to once again qualify for the right to move forward with the green card process while remaining in the U.S. Specifically, this applies to individuals who currently have TPS status, who has a prior deportation order in effect, who has previously traveled outside the U.S. with advance parole and who is otherwise eligible for a green card.
If a candidate meets these criteria, they will be able to petition DHS to re-open their prior deportation case in order to eliminate the deportation order and then request that the case be dismissed for good. Once this happens, the applicant will then be able to move forward with their request for legal permanent residency.
While many TPS holders may already meet most of these requirements, many have never obtained advance parole and will need to work quickly to obtain approval before the planned end of this new program. Our office has been getting lots of questions from current a new clients about this new decision and many of them do not know what Advance Parole is or how they can apply for it.
Advance parole is a special type of travel request for those who are not otherwise eligible to leave the U.S. due to some sort of legal barrier (such as a prior unlawful entry into the U.S.). Advance Parole allows an applicant to leave the country for a specific purpose and then return once that purpose is fulfilled. In the past several years, advance parole has been used by DACA recipients to be able to leave the country for work, school, or humanitarian reasons (death in the family) and then reenter the U.S. again. The re-entry into the U.S. is then used to “clean” the prior bad history and allows them to move forward with a green card request. In the current situation, without advance parole, TPS holders will not be able to remove their past deportation and qualify for a green card.
This is not just a very technical area of immigration law, but also a brand-new process that is still being developed by the government. As such, it is highly recommended that a person speaks with an experienced immigration attorney before attempting to move forward with this process. Our office can help you with this and any other immigration process. Please call today to schedule an appointment at 616-805-3435.