The Supreme Court sounded hesitant to approve the Biden administration’s green card policy that would keep thousands of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. for humanitarian reasons from applying as permanent residents.
The case has implications for more than 400,000 people living in the U.S. as TPS recipients. The Biden administration wants to change the law to include a path to citizenship.
In contrast, the Supreme Court notes the case is based on whether a person who has entered the nation illegally and received humanitarian protections were ever admitted under immigration law.
Justice Clarence Thomas said “they clearly were not admitted at the borders. So is that a fiction? Is it metaphysical? What is it? I don’t know.”
Justice Brett Kavanaugh added the court should be “careful about tinkering with the immigration statutes as written,” especially when Congress could act. “But just kind of big picture, why should we jump in here when Congress is very focused on immigration?”
The specific case is based on two Salvadorean immigrants, Jose Sanchez and Sonia Gonzalez, who attempted to obtain green cards after living under TPS for more than 20 years following a 2001 earthquake in El Salvador.
The two individuals were turned down because they originally entered the country illegally. Lower courts have been divided on the issue.
The Biden administration has already proposed legislation to allow those protected under TPS to apply for a green card. The case may be denied based on the current information, forcing Congress to determine the next course of action on the issue.