We all know the United States is seen as a great place to relocate to, if your country is all kinda of fucked up, right?
Well, El Savadorian couple Jose Sanchez and Sonia Gonzalez thought that, and in 1997 and then again in 1998, they came to the United States looking for a better life. Then, in 2001, El Salvador suffered a big fucking earthquake.
That matters, because in the US we have The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) law, which allows for a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for people who can prove their country is so fucked up, they’re likely to die because of bullets flying everywhere, or some natural disaster. So despite the fact they were already here, and completely unaffected by the earthquakes, they were given that TPS status, so they didn’t have to leave and go back to that whole fucked up situation.
In 2014, after having been here for a couple decades, they were like, “You know what, we’d like to make this our home.” So they applied for permanent residence, and their employer, thinking Sanchez was a pretty awesome fucking worker, helped file a worker immigration visa petition.
But then the government was like, “You’ve been here long enough on a temporary status, go the fuck home. If you want to come back, file your goddamn paperwork from abroad, and get in line like everyone else.”
The rule goes something like this. In order to get permanent residence status, you have to have been admitted to the United States legally. That never happened. They snuck in, then got a temporary protected status so they wouldn’t be deported, but at no point did the United States say, “Come on in, bro.”
The T in TPS is for temporary after all, so it’s not meant as a pathway for permanent residence. Once shit calms down, those folks are supposed to go home. Which if I’m honest, seems kinda fucked up. I mean, they were here for a pretty long time, and established a life here after we said, “OK, you can stay for now.” If they want to stay, and they’re productive motherfuckers, why make them go home first? It’ll mean they’ll lost their job, their home, and all the other shit they worked to achieve.
But, all that being said, there are laws that bar people who came here illegally, from staying here. If they were here illegally for a year or more, they can be barred for attempting to return legally for ten years. So if they go home, now, it’ll be a decade before they could even apply to return.
In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS sided for Mayorkas (Homeland Security). While surely sympathetic, the law is pretty simple. In order to gain permanent residence, you have to have been admitted into the US, which they were not. Sorry, Charlie.
Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.