In Bonilla v. Johnson, an alien from El Salvador seeking to adjust status in the United States, originally entered the country without inspection in 1991. Ten years later, the U.S. Attorney General declared residents of El Salvador eligible for temporary protected status within the U.S. because of three devastating earthquakes in the country. The plaintiff timely filed her application for TPS, disclosing the fact she entered without inspection in 1991. Plaintiff's TPS status was continuously renewed. In 2014, Plaintiff's daughter, a U.S. citizen over the age of 21, applied to adjust her status to lawful permanent resident. USCIS approved the daughter's petition for her mother, but it the mother's application for adjustment of status because of her failure to show she had been lawfully admitted or paroled into the United States.
The district court reversed the decision of USCIS denying Plaintiff's application for adjustment of status, holding that the plain language of 8 U.S.C. §1254(a)(f)(4) makes clear that when an alien is granted TPS, it satisfies the threshold requirement of inspection and admission to the United States under 8 U.S.C. § 1255(a) for purposes of becoming eligible for adjustment to LPR status. A word of caution is in order. There are Court of Appeals decision that are at odds with this district court opinion so a different outcome could occur with a case in the Seventh Circuit where Indiana is located. Additionally, TPS beneficiaries often avoid this problem by obtaining advance parole to leave and re-enter the country before applying to adjust status, thereby qualifying based on their paroled status into the U.S. following the granting of their TPS status.