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What does the Supreme Court’s TPS decision mean for immigration reform?


In a unanimous decision on June 7, the Supreme Court said that current laws governing Temporary Protected Status (TPS) do NOT allow individuals who entered the US without a valid visa to become permanent US residents and get a green card.

The Supreme Court made it clear that Congress could pass a law changing the requirements for TPS holders to get residency and even referenced an immigration reform bill in Congress which “would do just that.”


There are an estimated 320,000 TPS holders in the United States. These individuals receive humanitarian protection from deportation and authorization to work in the United States due to an ongoing conflict, an environmental disaster, or other humanitarian crises in their home countries. All TPS benefits are temporary.


Some TPS holders are able to apply for permanent residency through adjustment of status, a process which allows individuals who are already in the United States to get a green card. 

In addition to entering the country legally, TPS holders must also have a visa available in order to adjust status and get residency. Although Congress has made visas available to some TPS recipients, visas are generally only available to TPS holders who have qualifying family members or employers in the United States who can submit a visa petition on their behalf.


Congress could legally change these requirements. As the Supreme Court pointed out, Congress makes the law, and Congress can change the law. Congress has not yet made these changes for all TPS recipients. Whether or not Congress will in the future remains to be seen.



The information contained in this post does not constitute legal advice and does not form an attorney-client relationship. For specific questions, please consult with an attorney.







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