(CN) - A Mexican couple who admitted to illegally entering the United States can't adjust their immigration status based on an approved worker visa petition, the 2nd Circuit ruled.
Juan and Guillermina Mora argued that they should be allowed to adjust their status based on a contradiction in immigration law. One provision states that only immigrants who are "physically present in the United States" and "entered ... without inspection" can apply to adjust their status. But another provision renders illegal immigrants inadmissible.
If "entry without inspection" is both a qualifying and disqualifying condition for an adjustment of status, the Moras argued, no one would ever be eligible for a status adjustment.
The federal appeals court in New York said the restriction on who may apply for an adjustment of status applies specifically to illegal immigrants who have repeatedly violated immigration laws, either by remaining in the United States for more than one year or by trying to re-enter after being removed.
Congress intended to prevent repeat offenders from adjusting their status, Judge Livingston concluded.
The court affirmed denial of the Moras' petition.
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