The U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld a law barring illegal immigrants from applying for permanent residency on the basis of Temporary Protective Status (TPS).
TPS is sometimes given to foreigners who enter the US unlawfully if they're from a country ravaged by war or natural disaster.
TPS status protects them from deportation and allows them to work in the country legally. A court case had argued that 400,000 people living in the US under this status should be entitled to apply for permanent residency or a green card.
But in a unanimous 9-0 decision, the Court ruled that the award of protective status does not convert an unlawful entry to the country to a lawful one.
Justice Elena Kagan, widely recognized as one of the Court’s most liberal justices, wrote the opinion saying that a person's TPS does not rubber-stamp an “unlawful entry.”
Kagan pointed out that if Congress had intended to grant people who were awarded TPS admission to the US, they should have said so in the law.
Currently, there is legislation pending before Congress that would confer lawful admission to people awarded TPS.