The U.S. Supreme Court delivered some bad news to Democrats on Monday in a major immigration case.
On Monday, the Court expressed skepticism about allowing temporary immigrants protected from deportation to apply for green cards.
The case’s outcome could affect more than 400,000 immigrants who entered the United States illegally but live here under temporary federal protection.
The case revolves around whether these 400,000 or so immigrants can apply for lawful residency without having to leave the country first.
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in particular, questioned whether the terms of the Temporary Protected Status program, which protects them from deportation, allows an ease of access to green cards.
“We need to be careful about tinkering with the immigration statutes as written, particularly when Congress has such a primary role here,” Kavanaugh told lawyers representing the immigrants.
“You have an uphill climb, textually speaking,” he added.
The Washington Examiner reported:
The case arose out of an incident where two Salvadorean immigrants, Jose Sanchez and Sonia Gonzalez, attempted to obtain green cards after living under TPS for more than 20 years following a 2001 earthquake in El Salvador.
The two attempted to adjust their status to “admitted” but were turned away because they originally entered the country illegally.
At present, the only way for the married couple to obtain green cards is by leaving the country and starting the immigration process over.
That move brings its own pitfalls. Several years after Congress passed TPS, it passed another law that places a ban that can reach up to 10 years on anyone who enters the country illegally and stays for more than 365 days.
Both the Trump and Biden administrations sided against the immigrants in the case, arguing that because of their unlawful entry, Sanchez and Gonzalez are not eligible for the Immigration and Nationality Act’s adjustment-of-status procedure.
Justice Clarence Thomas pointed this out in his questions, saying that the two “clearly were not admitted at the borders.”
“So is that a fiction?” he said. “Is it metaphysical? What is it? I don’t know.”
Chief Justice John Roberts was also skeptical, saying that the immigrants can’t really make the case that they have been admitted to the country.
“I can’t follow the logic of your main submission,” he told the attorneys representing the immigrants. “It doesn’t say that you are deemed to have been admitted and inspected. It says that you have nonimmigrant status.”
During Monday’s argument, it appeared the justices will uphold the government’s authority to deny green cards to immigrants like Sanchez.
This means that either Congress or the Biden administration will have to take some sort of action on their own regarding green cards.
And, of course, we all know Democrats will likely try to move on this.
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Author: Martin Walsh
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