The legality of Trump’s controversial US immigration public charge rule will not be reviewed by the Supreme Court it has emerged. Last month, Workpermit.com revealed that the Supreme Court was set to review the rule that blocks thousands of immigrants from applying for legal permanent residency in the US if they rely on state benefits.
The withdrawal of Supreme Court involvement follows an agreement that has been made between the Biden administration and the states and groups challenging the rule. The agreement has been described as the latest ‘outworking’ of Biden’s efforts to reverse many of Trump’s controversial US visa and immigration rules.
The Biden administration recently rebuffed high court appeals over the former US President Donald Trump’s attempts to deny funding to so-called sanctuary cities.
US border wall
Meanwhile, Supreme Court Justices, at the request of the Biden administration, have postponed cases they had agree to hear concerning the funding over certain sections of the US border wall with Mexico, and the policy of forcing asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while they await hearings.
In February, the Supreme Court had agreed to hear a Trump administration appeal against a lower court ruling concerning the public charge rule. The controversial policy allows US immigration officials to refuse permanent residency to immigrants who rely on food stamps, Medicaid, housing vouchers or other public benefits.
Supreme Court justices said they would hear the case, despite Biden calling for a ‘top-to-bottom’ review of the public charge rule.
However, the Biden administration withdrew its appeal after all parties reached an agreement to dismiss the case. The immigrant advocacy groups challenging the rule said: “This decision clears the way, at last, for this unlawful rule to no longer be enforced.”
Supreme Court divided
In previous hearings related to the rule, the Supreme Court was divided 5 – 4 over whether to allow the policy to be enforced amid an ongoing legal challenge.
The legal challenge was brought by New York Connecticut, Vermont, New York City and several organisations.
Under the Trump-era policy, green card applicants had to demonstrate that they would not be a burden on the US. Federal law already required people seeking permanent residency or legal status in the US to prove they would not be a so-called ‘public charge’. However, the Trump administration included a wider range of state benefits that could exclude them.
The policy was described as a ‘wealth test’ by immigrant rights groups, while public health officials said that the policy would result in poorer health outcomes and increased costs with low-income migrants forced to choose between services they need or protecting their bid to remain in the US legally.
Department of Homeland Security
A statement issued by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said: “Under the 1999 interim field guidance, DHS will not consider a person’s receipt of Medicaid (except for Medicaid for long-term institutionalization), public housing, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits as part of the public charge inadmissibility determination.”
DHS Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, said: “The 2019 public charge rule is not in keeping with our nation’s values. It penalized those who access health benefits and other government services available to them.”
It’s understood that the Biden administration will revert to Clinton-era rules that instructed US immigration officials to only deem immigrants to be a public charge if they were in receipt of government cash benefits or long-term institutionalized care.
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