On Friday, January 8, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of Oscar Ernesto Melendez v. Kevin K. McAleenan et al. which would decide if beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) can adjust their status in the United States if they initially entered without inspection, known colloquially as EWI. 

Temporary Protected Status is given to eligible nationals of designated countries who are present in the United States and whose home countries have been significantly affected by armed conflict or natural disaster. This designated status allows eligible persons to live and work in the United States for limited times. Currently, persons from ten countries have TPS, including Haiti, El Salvador, Syria, Nepal, Honduras, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Nicaragua, and South Sudan. 

There have been differing views about allowing TPS designees to adjust their status due to divergent operational definitions about what constitutes legal admission.  Indeed, the issue of TPS Adjustment has divided the Federal Circuit court system, raising the critical question of whether TPS admission actually counts as an official and lawful admission to the United States.  Notably, both the Sixth and Ninth Circuits have found that TPS affirmatively counts as an “Admission,” while the Fifth and Third Circuits have ruled that granting of TPS does not constitute “Admission.” 

In Plaintiff Melendez’ Petition for Writ of Certiorari, his attorneys argue that since Congress stated that a TPS beneficiary shall be deemed as “being in and maintaining” lawful nonimmigrant status from the date of being granted TPS, that it would follow that the date of the grant of TPS serves as “a new entry into the United States.”

At the Shulman Law Group, we are invested in representing our clients with a keen eye to the judicial issues confronting them.  As such, we will closely monitor the outcome of this pivotal SCOTUS case and invite new and existing clients to continue to read our blog for future updates.  The founder of the Shulman Law Group, Edward Shulman, noted that “the decision will be monumental in that if decided in favor of Plaintiff Melendez, immigrants who are beneficiaries of TPS will have a pathway to permanent residency because conferring “admission” essentially overcomes the bar of ineligibility.”