Supreme Court Rules 9-0 to Uphold The Law Against Illegal Immigrants

Written by Martin Walsh

OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion


The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday that illegal immigrants who were given temporary protection status could not obtain legal permanent residence.

All 9 Justices banded together and rejected an illegal immigrant’s attempt to twist immigration law and create a loophole that would allow thousands of illegal immigrants to become lawful permanent residents.

Democratic senators and attorneys general advocated for this loophole.

But here’s the best part, liberal Justice Elana Kagan wrote the opinion and delivered quite a verbal beat down to liberals trying to exploit this loophole:

Petitioner Jose Santos Sanchez entered this country unlawfully from El Salvador. Years later, because of unsafe living conditions in that country, the Government granted him Temporary Protected Status (TPS), entitling him to stay and work in the United States for as long as those conditions persist. Sanchez now wishes to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States. The question here is whether the conferral of TPS enables him to obtain LPR status despite his unlawful entry. We hold that it does not.

Kagan wrote that lawful permanent residency requires “admission” into the U.S., which the court defined as “the lawful entry of the alien into the United States after inspection and authorization by an immigration officer.”

In Sanchez v. Mayorkas, Kagan noted that U.S. immigration law, “applied according to its plain terms, prevents Sanchez from becoming an LPR. There is no dispute that Sanchez ‘entered the United States in the late 1990s unlawfully, without inspection.’”


Yet Democrats and immigration activists twist the law to argue that if an illegal immigrant obtains temporary protected status due to violence or bad conditions in his or her home country, he or she can be considered “admitted” for the purposes of obtaining LPR status.

While TPS does protect illegal immigrants from removal and authorizes them to work in the U.S. as long as the TPS designation lasts, the Court rightly ruled that this provision does not erase a person’s unlawful entry into the U.S. for permanent residency status.

Kagan’s conclusion is blunt: U.S. law “generally requires a lawful admission before a person can obtain LPR status. Sanchez was not lawfully admitted, and his TPS does not alter that fact. He, therefore, cannot become a permanent resident of this country.”

Democrat attorneys general for Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, California, and 17 other states also backed the illegal immigration loophole.

Late last month, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled against a Mexican green card holder challenging a deportation order.

Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor struck down that notion in the court’s unanimous opinion.

Sotomayor wrote that Palomar-Santiago had not attempted to exhaust all of his other options to reverse the deportation before reentering the country illegally.

She chided the 9th Circuit, which the court frequently reverses, for attempting to excuse him from normal procedures.

“When Congress uses ‘mandatory language’ in an administrative exhaustion provision, ‘a court may not excuse a failure to exhaust,'” Sotomayor wrote. “Yet that is what the Ninth Circuit’s rule does.”

During the case’s oral arguments in April, several of the Justices made clear that they were going to side against Palomar-Santiago.

Chief Justice John Roberts said that he was skeptical of the idea that when immigration law changes, the judicial branch should be forced to “unscramble the eggs” on past cases.

“There are a lot of areas where the door closes, and you lose the right to go back and challenge prior determinations,” he said.