Big Win in Immigration District in Florida for those with TPS

I just received a copy of a newly issued decision that is so good that I have read it several times just to make sure it said what I thought it said. This decision is highly technical but vitally important to the ability of those with TPS (temporary protected status) to obtain permanent residence. Previously (for a short time) in the district that includes Florida, USCIS was approving residence applications for those who: 

  1. Initially entered without inspection
  2. Obtained TPS and then traveled on Advance Parole (AP) 
  3. Had a removal order but had an approved petition that granted them permission to apply for residence after a removal order
  4. Had an immediate relative petition approved – generally, this has been a US citizen adult son or daughter, but it could be a petition by a US citizen spouse. 

Then, USCIS (in our district) stopped approving these cases by saying among other things that travel on the AP did not create a legal entry and that USCIS did not have jurisdiction over these cases. The government had been asserting that only the Immigration Court had jurisdiction and the courts were denying relief which left these people with no recourse. Our district stopped approving cases like this even though they had previously approved them and even though other districts (mostly in western states) continued to accept and approve cases such as these. 

Now, an Immigration judge in our district has ruled that USCIS does have jurisdiction and an entry on AP creates a legal entry, a requirement for adjustment of status to permanent residence. I will be following this development closely to determine the best way to help people in this situation whether they had filed previously and been denied or did not file because they had heard that these cases would be denied. Stay tuned. 

It is so exciting to know that I can now help people that have lived in the US for 22 or more years to obtain permanent residence after living so long with uncertainly about their status.

Linda M Kaplan
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