and Submitted December 6, 2016 Seattle, Washington
from the United States District Court for the Western
District of Washington Thomas S. Zilly, District Judge,
Young Martin (argued), Trial Attorney; Jeffrey S. Robins,
Assistant Director; William C. Peachey, Director; Benjamin C.
Mizer, Acting Assistant Attorney General; Office of
Immigration Litigation, Civil Division, United States
Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.; for
Christopher Strawn (argued) and Matthew Adams, Northwest
Immigration Rights Project, Seattle, Washington, for
Before: M. Margaret McKeown, Richard C. Tallman, and Morgan
Christen, Circuit Judges.
panel affirmed the district court's summary judgment in
favor of Jesus Ramirez in his action challenging the United
States Citizenship and Immigration Service's decision
finding him ineligible to adjust to lawful permanent resident
status on the ground that because he entered the United
States without inspection he was not "inspected and
admitted or paroled" as required by 8 U.S.C. §
panel held that under the Temporary Protected Status statute,
8 U.S.C. § 1254a(f)(4), a TPS recipient is deemed to be
in lawful status and thereby has satisfied the requirements
to become a nonimmigrant, including inspection and admission,
for the purposes of adjustment of status. The panel held that
as a TPS beneficiary, Ramirez was therefore eligible to
obtain lawful permanent residence.
appeal presents a question of statutory interpretation about
the interplay between two subsections of the immigration
code-one involving designation of Temporary Protected Status
("TPS") and the other involving adjustment of
status. The Attorney General may grant TPS to an alien who
cannot safely return home to a war-torn or disaster-ridden
country. During the pendency of the TPS designation, the U.S.
government may not send the alien back to the unsafe country.
Ramirez, who came to the United States from El Salvador in
1999, was granted TPS in 2001 and has remained in that status
to the present day. In 2012, he married Barbara Lopez, a U.S.
citizen, and the couple sought lawful permanent resident
status for Ramirez. Although they were unsuccessful before
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
("USCIS"), they prevailed in a lawsuit filed in
parties dispute whether being a TPS designee provides a
pathway for Ramirez to obtain lawful permanent resident
status under the adjustment statute. We hold that it does:
under 8 U.S.C. § 1254a(f)(4), an alien afforded TPS is
deemed to be in lawful status as a nonimmigrant-and has
thereby satisfied the requirements for becoming a
nonimmigrant, including inspection and admission-for purposes
of adjustment of status under § 1255.
statutory provisions are at the heart of this appeal. The
first relates to TPS, a status that the Attorney General may
grant to aliens that prevents their removal from the United
States while dangerous conditions persist in their home
country. See 8 U.S.C. § 1254a(a)(1)(A), (b)(1).
The second provision governs an alien's ability to adjust
to lawful permanent resident status. See id. §
1255(a). We offer a general description of the mechanics of
the TPS statute and then address where the rubber meets the
road in this appeal-the intersection of the TPS and
first requires a designation. When the Attorney General
determines that a foreign state (or any part of a foreign
state) faces an ongoing armed conflict, environmental
disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions
that prevent aliens from returning safely, the Attorney
General may designate that state (or part of the state) for
TPS and grant TPS to an alien who is a national of that
state. Id. § 1254a(a)(1)(A), (b)(1). The
Attorney General sets the initial duration of the
designation, which may be extended following periodic review.
See id. § 1254a(b)(2)-(3). An alien desiring
TPS requests such status by submitting an
application-including detailed information about identity,
residence, and admissibility-to USCIS, which considers the
application. See 8 C.F.R. §§ 244.2, 244.7,
244.10(b). To maintain TPS, aliens must periodically
re-register. See 8 U.S.C. § 1254a(c)(3)(C); 8
C.F.R. § 244.17(a).
alien granted TPS receives two primary benefits during the
period in which TPS is in effect: he is not subject to
removal and he is authorized to work in the United States
(and supplied with the relevant accompanying documentation).
8 U.S.C. § 1254a(a)(1)-(2). The grant of TPS has other
consequences. For example, the TPS beneficiary is not
"considered to be permanently residing in the United
States under color of law" and "may be deemed
ineligible for public assistance by a State . . . or any
political subdivision thereof which furnishes such
assistance." Id. § 1254a(f)(1)-(2). If the
beneficiary wishes to travel abroad, he must seek and obtain
the prior consent of the Attorney General. Id.
§ 1254a(f)(3). The consequence pertinent to this appeal
is that "for purposes of adjustment of status under
section 1255 of this ...