Can TPS holders become permanent residents? It just became a lot easier for those who reside in the Ninth Circuit.
Temporary Protected Status is a designation for nationals of El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, and other countries. Many people who qualify for TPS entered the United States without inspection. Typically, a person must be “admitted and inspected” to qualify for adjustment of status in the United States. This means that even though they are married to a US Citizen or have a US Citizen child over the age of 21, those who entered without inspection are not able to apply for adjustment of status (the process to obtain a green card.) Instead, many TPS holders who entered without inspection would have to apply for a waiver and return to their home country before obtaining a green card.
Previously, the BIA carved out a loophole when it found that if a TPS holder applied for Advance Parole and traveled to their home country, he would have a lawful admission upon his return which would allow for adjustment of status. This meant that TPS holders who entered without inspection had to obtain a specific travel document, leave and return before they could legally adjust status here in the United States.
New Developments: Adjustment of Status becomes Easier
In late March 2017, the Ninth Circuit decided that being granted TPS was a “lawful admission” for purposes of adjustment of status. What does that mean? Lets take a look at the Ramirez v. Brown Case:
Jesus Ramirez, who came to the United States from El Salvador in 1999, was granted TPS in 2001 and has remained in that status to the present day. In 2012, he married Barbara Lopez, a U.S. citizen, and the couple sought lawful permanent resident status for Ramirez.
The court decided that obtaining TPS status DOES qualify as inspection and therefore a lawful admission. Mr. Ramirez, therefore, was allowed to adjust status without leaving the United States.
Who can benefit from this promising decision?
First, the decision applies only to those residing in the Ninth Circuit (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington State). Someone who was granted TPS and resides in one of those states who has a US Citizen immediate relative (spouse, child or parent) may be eligible. They may have other inadmissibility issues such as criminal history, prior removal orders, etc., so it is always best to consult with an attorney before initiating any paperwork.