On June 8, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on whether individuals could use their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to adjust status if they entered the country unlawfully. TPS is a temporary status given to eligible nationals of designated countries who are present in the United States. The status, afforded to nationals from some countries affected by armed conflict or natural disaster, allows persons to lie and work in the United States for limited times. Currently, persons from twelve countries – Haiti, El Salvador, Syria, Nepal, Honduras, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Nicaragua, Myanmar, South Sudan, and Venezuela – have temporary protected status.
The right of those to adjust status has been unclear for many years. Different states and regions of the country had different rules. The Supreme Court therefore was forced to step in to resolve the conflicting legal issues. They ruled that so long as an individual entered the country via some legal status – such as with a student visa or a tourist visa – that they could adjust status. There are over 400,000 people from 12 countries with TPS status. This ruling further confirms and clarifies the ability of those on TPS to adjust status. The ruling may also force Congress to act more on TPS protections in the near future.