A Temporary Protected Status (TPS) permits you to stay in the country and work without the threat of deportation. Currently, there are around 400,000 people from 12 countries with a TPS. The problem with a TPS is the government can remove it at any time.
The government can issue a TPS to citizens of countries of its choosing. It does so when there has been a significant event such as a war or a natural disaster. The authorities can award people a TPS regardless of whether they entered the country by lawful or unlawful means.
If the government were to withdraw a country’s right to TPS status, it would leave citizens of that country without any right to stay. That is why if you have a TPS, you may wish to seek an “adjustment of status” to get a green card.
How you entered the U.S. may affect your right to apply for a green card
Supreme Court judges are currently debating how the way someone entered the country affects their right to a green card. One side argues that a TPS award should count as you being “inspected and admitted, or paroled into” the country.
The other side interprets it differently and argues that to apply for a green card, you need to have been “inspected and admitted, or paroled into” when you first entered. So if you did not enter by lawful means you would need to leave the country before applying for permission to enter the U.S. if they want to apply for a green card. This could take years if the immigration authorities penalize you for lacking legal status at any point.
If you are unsure about your path to remain in the U.S., it is crucial to understand the latest immigration law developments. Failing to grasp the rules could lead to you violating them without knowing. Or you could miss opportunities to advance your case to remain.