Cleary Files Amicus Brief in Support of Salvadoran TPS Recipients Seeking Permanent U.S. Residency

March 1, 2021

Cleary Gottlieb filed an amicus brief on March 1, 2021, on behalf of Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Alianza Americas (Alianza) in the matter of Jose Santos Sanchez and Sonia Gonzalez v. Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security, et al.

The petitioners, Jose Sanchez and his wife Sonia Gonzalez, immigrated to the U.S. in 1998 and received temporary protected status (TPS) in 2001. In 2014, they applied to become lawful permanent residents (LPR), but were rejected by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS found Sanchez ineligible for adjustment of status because he was not formally “inspected” or “admitted” when he originally entered the U.S.

The petitioners challenged this denial in federal district court, arguing that, under the relevant statutory provisions, the grant of TPS satisfies the admission and inspection requirement for LPR status. The district court agreed and granted them summary judgment, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed, resulting in a clear circuit split on this issue.

HRW and Alianza are both organizations with extensive expertise regarding the risks of serious harm faced by Salvadoran nationals who are required to return to El Salvador from the U.S., and HRW recently published a detailed report assessing and documenting these risks. That report shows that immigrants forced to return to El Salvador face a substantial risk of death, torture, extortion, or other harms by gangs, state actors, and “extermination groups” or “death squads.”

The brief provides the Court with an objective account of the magnitude and extent of these risks and argues that, in light of these facts, the Third Circuit’s interpretation of the TPS statutory scheme cannot be reconciled with Congress’ humanitarian objective in enacting that scheme.

A decision in this matter is expected later this year. To view the amicus brief, click here.