This year, the Ninth Circuit has made numerous decisions valuable to immigrants - including leading the stand against the current administration's Travel/Muslim ban. Perhaps one of the more unnoticed decisions was Ramirez v. Brown, a case which allows TPS holders to adjust status in the United States if they qualify for all the other requirements for a green card.
A bit of brief background to orient you about TPS and the green card process: with some exceptions, immigration law generally allows individuals who entered the U.S. lawfully upon inspection to apply for a green card in the United States. Anyone who enters without inspection generally has to leave the U.S. to obtain a green card, which can create all sorts of problems - anything from triggering certain laws that prevent you from returning, to suffering crime abroad.
In Ramirez v. Brown, the Ninth Circuit held that people with TPS have been admitted for purposes of getting a green card in the U.S. What this means is that even if you entered the U.S. without inspection, holding TPS means you can apply for a green card without leaving the U.S. So, for example, if you hold TPS and have a family member over 21 who can petition for you, you may be eligible to apply for a green card now. If you have TPS, please contact our office immediately as you may have numerous legal options to apply for a green card. One limit to this holding is that it applies only to current TPS holders. The case does not allow people with expired TPS status to apply.
One final thing to consider: TPS can change at any time. If the president decides to remove your country from the list of TPS countries, you will fall out of TPS status and will not be able to apply for a green card. One solution is to apply for advanced parole - a travel document which allows someone with TPS to leave the U.S. and re-enter. Once a TPS holder re-enters, they now have a lawful entry and can apply for a green card in the future - even if TPS gets taken away!
If you currently have TPS, or think you may qualify, please contact our office. We have helped numerous immigrants and families obtain green cards, and now that the Ninth Circuit has given us another way to do this, we hope to continue our office mission to help keep families together. Give our office a call -- you might be next!