SCOTUS Rules 9-0, Permanent Residency Status Requires Lawful Entry, Barring Those Who Entered Illegally from Obtaining Green Card

Obama appointed Justice Elena Kagan penned the opinion in the unanimous ruling in Sanchez v Mayorkas. Kagan wrote that lawful permanent residency requires “admission” into the U.S., which the court defined as “the lawful entry of the alien into the United States after inspection and authorization by an immigration officer.”

The case involved a couple from New Jersey, who had entered the country illegally from El Salvador in 1997. The couple was able to stay in the United States under Temporary Protected Status. In 2001 they applied for Temporary Protective Status which was granted to them. The couple sought to gain a permanent residence visa (Green Card).

With a 9-0 vote from the Supreme Court, the law is clear, one must enter legally into the United States in order to gain permanent residence status.

SCOTUSblog tweeted, “SCOTUS rules 9-0 against non-citizens who entered the U.S. without authorization in the 1990s, were allowed to remain in the country for humanitarian reasons under the “temporary protected status” program, and now seek green cards under the “adjustment of status” process. In plain English: A married couple entered the U.S. from El Salvador. They’re protected from deportation under a program in which the U.S. doesn’t send people back to nations in crisis. The couple applied to become lawful permanent U.S. residents. SCOTUS said they don’t qualify. Here is the opinion in Sanchez v. Mayorkas:

CNN reported, “Today’s decision is not just a setback for those immigrants currently in Temporary Protected Status who did not enter the United States lawfully; it also reinforces the barriers that Dreamers would face until and unless Congress provides a statutory path to some kind of permanent lawful status, said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

“The Executive Branch may have some authority to confer forms of temporary legal status on those who crossed the border without permission, but the Supreme Court today reinforced, however indirectly, that only Congress can provide a permanent answer,” he added.”

With a crisis at our southern border, and a seemingly never-ending stream of undocumented immigrants flooding into our country, maybe this will send a message the Biden Administration won’t.