U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has adopted the Administrative Appeals Office’s decision in Matter of H-G-G-. This decision reaffirms the position of the Department of Homeland Security that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients are considered as being in and maintaining lawful status as a nonimmigrant only during the period that TPS is in effect. A grant of TPS does not confer an admission, constructive or otherwise, nor does it cure or otherwise impact any previous failure to maintain continuously a lawful status. Matter of H-G-G- further clarifies because the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Sixth and Ninth Circuits have held that a grant of TPS supplies the requisite admission for purposes of adjustment, USCIS personnel will follow those decisions only in those respective jurisdictions, and on that discrete issue. However, on the question of whether a grant of TPS cures a prior unlawful status, USCIS personnel will apply the holding in Matter of H-G-G- universally.
Specifically, USCIS holds that the TPS statute “allows applicants who are otherwise eligible to adjust status, but whose original nonimmigrant status lapsed during the period of their TPS, to avoid the bar prescribed at section 245(c)(2) of the Act for failure to maintain continuously their lawful nonimmigrant status since entry into the United States.” “Stated another way, the plain interplay of the statutory provisions ensures that those who were eligible to adjust their status before receiving TPS remain so; it does not mean that persons ineligible for adjustment due to prior immigration violations have that ineligibility waived by a grant of TPS.”
Finally, “on the question of whether a grant of TPS cures the bar at section 245(c)(2) of the Act for failure to continuously maintain lawful status since entry, both the Ninth and Sixth Circuits’ statements were dicta only, as that bar did not apply to the individuals before them. Accordingly, DHS will apply the contrary holding in this decision on this issue universally.”
The adoption announcement and text of Matter of H-G-G- can be found here: