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Folders with immigrants' applications for permanent U.S. residency sit stacked in a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that immigrants who acquired a temporary stay in the U.S. for humanitarian reasons are ineligible to become permanent residents if they entered the country illegally, CNN reports.

Why it matters: About 400,000 people from 12 countries live in the United States under Temporary Protected Status. The designation shields people who have come from countries ravaged by war or disaster from being removed from the country.

Background: At question in the case was whether TPS status inherently means immigrants who entered the country unlawfully have been "inspected and admitted or paroled" into the U.S. — one of the eligibility requirements to obtain a green card.

The case at issue was that of Jose Sanchez and Sonia Gonzales, who came to the U.S. illegally in 1997 and 1998 and applied for TPS in 2001 after a series of earthquakes hit El Salvador, their country of origin.

  • The couple sought to become lawful permanent residents in 2014. However, their efforts were ultimately denied by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which said they had not been formally admitted to the country.
  • A district court ruled in their favor, but an appeals court later reversed the ruling.

Worth noting: The House of Representatives has passed legislation that would have made it possible for TPS recipients to be granted permanent residency. But the bill faces uncertain prospects in the Senate, per the Chicago Tribune.

What they're saying: "Today's decision is not just a setback for those immigrants currently in Temporary Protected Status who did not enter the United States lawfully," Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst, said. "It also reinforces the barriers that Dreamers would face until and unless Congress provides a statutory path to some kind of permanent lawful status."

  • Vladeck continued, "The Executive Branch may have some authority to confer forms of temporary legal status on those who crossed the border without permission, but the Supreme Court today reinforced, however indirectly, that only Congress can provide a permanent answer."

Go deeper

Court reinstates DeSantis' mask mandate ban in Florida schools

Florida Governor DeSantis holds a news conference at the Florida Department of Health office in Viera, Florida. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The First District Court of Appeal on Friday granted Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) approval to uphold an order banning mask mandates in schools, per court documents filed Friday.

Why it matters: The move reverses a decision from earlier this week that paused the state's ability to enforce a ban on strict mask mandates in schools. The state will be able to resume punishing school districts that enforce mandates, which up until this point has included withholding funds from schools.

Sep 10, 2021 - World

21 additional Americans depart Afghanistan

The Qatar Airways flight carried 150 people from Hamid Karzai International Airport on Sept. 9. Photo: Bilal Guler/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The White House announced Friday that 21 U.S. citizens and 11 lawful permanent residents have been brought safely out of Afghanistan in the latest departures since the full U.S. troop withdrawal on Aug. 31.

State of play: A chartered Qatar Airways flight held 19 U.S. citizens while two other U.S. citizens and 11 lawful permanent residents traveled separately overland.

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.