Previously, migrants with this protected status could put themselves on a pathway to becoming a lawful permanent resident, or Green Card holder, in the US if they left the US and returned. This would void a previous deportation order, allowing them to remain in the US indefinitely and potentially become a US citizen.
On December 20, 2019, the Trump administration ended this practice, preventing this group of migrants from having a way to get Green Cards. The change could affect tens of thousands of people, leaving them in legal limbo, the lawsuit argues.
All seven plaintiffs — six from El Salvador and one from Haiti — believed that they would be able to adjust their status to potentially obtain Green Cards.
For instance, Blanca Mirna Romero del Cid, a national of El Salvador who has lived in the US for approximately 26 years, traveled to El Salvador in 2013, believing it would allow her to apply for lawful permanent status. She has four US citizen children, including her oldest who helped petition for her Green Card.
Earlier this year, USCIS denied her request, leaving her “vulnerable to removal,” according to the lawsuit.
“The United States is their home, by all measures,” said Ben Seel, Counsel and Legal Analyst for Democracy Forward, about the plaintiffs, adding that many of them have been in the US for decades, with spouses and children who are US citizens.