USCIS to TPS-Holders Seeking Adjustment: ‘Inspected and Admitted’ doesn’t mean ‘Inspected and Admitted’

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USCIS to TPS-Holders Seeking Adjustment: ‘Inspected and Admitted’ doesn’t mean ‘Inspected and Admitted’

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United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that going forward, people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) who travel abroad and re-enter with advance parole will not be deemed to have been inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States for purposes of adjustment of status applications.  For people who originally entered the United States without inspection, this means that subsequent travel and re-entry with DHS permission will not be regarded as a lawful entry.

The new policy, stunningly, purports to interpret the following statute and find that a TPS-holder returning from authorized travel has not been “inspected and admitted”:

Definition of immigrant alien, for help with TPS application speak to Colorado immigration attorney.

Miscellaneous and Technical Immigration and Naturalization Amendments of 1991, § 304(c), Pub. L. No. 102-232, 105 Stat. 1733 (amending section 244 of the Act, Note 3).

This purported interpretation running directly contrary to the plain terms of the statute will be extremely vulnerable to legal challenge. But such challenges may not be immediate because the new policy will only apply to authorized TPS travel after August 20, 2020. TPS-holders who have already traveled with advance parole should still be able to adjust status using the advance parole entry as their lawful entry to support the adjustment application.

Explaining this policy change that ignores the text of the law passed by Congress, USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow frankly laid out the agency’s end-game: “[TPS] should not provide a path to lawful permanent resident status or citizenship.”

In sum, USCIS does not want people with TPS to gain permanent status. In pursuit of that policy goal, the agency decided it can interpret a statute dictating that a TPS traveler “shall be inspected and admitted” to not result in inspection and admission. The agency’s position is lawless, jarring, and completely consistent with the Trump Administration’s never-ending attacks on lawful immigration.

If you or someone you know has TPS and has questions about how this might affect them, call our office to set up a consultation.

Further Reading:

Law360 Article
USCIS Policy Memo and Adopted AAO Decision
USCIS Press Release

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