Supreme Court allows Trump administration to enforce ‘public charge’ immigration restriction

Supreme Court allows Trump administration to enforce ‘public charge’ immigration restriction

Supreme Court allows Trump administration to enforce ‘public charge’ immigration restriction

The new rule expands the "public charge" bar to anyone deemed likely to receive a much wider range of public benefits for more than an aggregate of 12 months over any 36-month period including healthcare, housing and food assistance.

At issue is the administration's rule issued in August that would restrict immigrants entering the United States if the government believes they will rely on public assistance, such as housing or health care benefits.

The Monday order followed a 5-4 split vote that divided the court's conservatives and liberals.

But in response to a lawsuit filed by New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New York City, and immigrant aid groups, a federal judge in New York imposed a nationwide injunction, blocking the government from enforcing the broader rule. Daniels had also placed an injunction on the rule's implementation due to a likely appeal to the Supreme Court, and the higher court lifted that injunction Monday.

The rule was challenged by several states and immigration groups, leading to injunctions that prevented the rule from going into effect on October 15, 2019.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

Under the rule, most petitioners seeking a visa or green card will be required to prove that they will not become a public charge - one who is dependent upon the state - or an economic burden to the country.

Roughly 544,000 people apply for green cards annually, according to The Associated Press, and according to the government, 382,000 are in categories that would make them subject to the new review.

In a five-page concurring opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch slammed trial courts for the practice of issuing nationwide injunctions that are outside of their jurisdiction.

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, previously said that the rule was implemented because the administration wanted to "see people coming to this country who are self-sufficient".

In a speech to the American Law Institute previous year, Barr said that "national injunctions" had "frustrated presidential politics for most of the president's term with no end in sight".

At the time, Barr noted: "We are over half the president's term, and the administration has not been able to reverse the last administration's immigration signing initiative., even if it rests entirely on executive power".

Lower courts have repeatedly blocked the entry into force of the new directive.

The theory of a public charge rule has existed for decades, but wasn't codified until the Trump administration drew up this rule in 2017. Gorsuch wrote in an opinion joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.

"Limiting legal immigration based on an applicant's wealth is shameful and entirely un-American", Democratic Senator Dick Durbin wrote on Twitter.

Those benefits that would be designated included Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), as well as most forms of Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps.

In its ruling, the Court notes that it would be "delusional" for anyone to think this decision "suffices to remedy the problem".

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