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Professor Maryellen Fullerton Outlines Consequences of Pending Immigration TPS Case


updated 4/22/2021

In a case preview published on SCOTUSblog, Professor Maryellen Fullerton outlined the legal issues in Sanchez v. Mayorkas, argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 19, which focuses on whether noncitizens who have been granted humanitarian relief from deportation can seek lawful permanent residency in the United States without leaving the country. SCOTUSblog is an online source for comprehensive news and analysis on the Supreme Court. Fullerton also shared her analysis after the argument.

The government has granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to more than 400,000 individuals, and many of them seek access to the adjustment of status procedure allowing noncitizens to achieve lawful permanent resident status while in the United States. The final ruling will affect the lives of the TPS holders, their families, friends, employers, and communities.

“Access to the adjustment-of-status process in the U.S. is a lifeline for many noncitizens. Leaving the U.S. to accomplish a status change costs money and, because the immigration bureaucracy often moves slowly, can jeopardize employment and strain families,” Fullerton wrote. “Most importantly, noncitizens may be barred from reentry for up to 10 years. Permission to adjust status within the U.S. avoids this result.”

Fullerton will publish further commentary after the opinion.

Fullerton is the Suzanne J. and Norman Miles Professor of Law and served as Interim Dean of the Law School from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. An expert on asylum and refugee law, her research focuses on comparative refugee law and the empirical and normative aspects of the worldwide effect of the Common European Asylum System. She was appointed to the Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of Trento for the 2012-2013 academic year through the U.S. Fulbright Program. She is also affiliated with the Dennis J. Block Center for the Study of International Business Law and the Brooklyn Law School International Human Rights Fellowship Program.

Read the preview

Read the post-argument analysis 

Watch Fullerton's video interview with Reuters