AFTER TPS, NEXT STEP IS GREEN CARD

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By: David Sperling, Esq.

TPS registration was extended last month for Salvadorans and Nicaraguans.  Salvadorans will be able to extend their TPS in July.

More and more TPS registrants are now obtaining their Green Cards, without any new law. How are they doing it?

Thanks to a Board of Immigration Appeals decision four  ago, TPS registrants married to US Citizens or who are parents to adult US Citizens now have a clear pathway to Legal Permanent Resident status.

The decision, Matter of Arrabally and Yerrabelly,  holds that an immigrant who departs the United States with a travel permit will have a legal entry when he or she  returns.  The overwhelming majority of Central American TPS registrants entered the country  illegally, and therefore were not eligible to adjust status in the United States.

TPS registrants. at least those without a deportation order, have always had the ability to obtain a travel document.  But their re-entry had not previously been considered an admission for the purpose of obtaining a Green Card.

Since TPS for Honduras and Nicaraguans has been in effect since 1999, and for Salvadorans since 2001, many registrants now have children (or qualified stepchildren) born in the United States who are now 21 years old.  Others are married to US Citizens. Thanks to this BIA ruling, both categories are now eligible to get their Green Cards in the United States after  legally re-entering the United States.

(All TPS registrants were required to enter before the initial statutory period — 1999 for Hondurans and Nicaraguans, and 2001 for Salvadorans. There are virtually no new TPS registrants from these countries.)

Even TPS registrants with deportation orders now have a shot at a Green Card — but this path is far more complicated and would require the services of an experienced immigration lawyer to reopen their cases.

I fully expect that there will be a new law in the foreseeable future that would allow Central American TPS registrants to apply for a Green Card in the United States, with or without U.S. Citizen spouses or children.

But for now, thousands of Central American TPS registrants now have a quick and easy path to a Green Card.

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