SCOTUS allows implementation of Trump’s expanded ‘public charge’ immigration rule

Under its newly-expanded “public charge policy,” the Trump administration will have more freedom to deny green cards to immigrants who have used — or are deemed likely to use — various forms of federal welfare benefits.

As the Washington Examiner reports, implementation of the new standard became possible after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned on Monday a lower court’s nationwide injunction against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule.

Ken Cuccinelli, the department’s acting deputy secretary, praised the decision.

“DHS has always been confident that an objective judiciary would reverse the injunctions imposed on the agency so that we are able to enforce long-standing law passed by a bipartisan Congress,” Cuccinelli said in a statement Monday.

Encouraging self-reliance

“Self-sufficiency and self-reliance are key American values not to be litigiously dismissed, but to be encouraged and adopted by the next generation of immigrants,” Cuccinelli added in his statement. “We plan to fully implement this rule in 49 states and are confident we will win the case on the merits.”

The Justice Department was also pleased with the decision; according to Politico, a spokesperson for the department argued this week that the previous injunction “prevented the administration from implementing an important immigration policy well within the scope of the laws passed by Congress.”

“We hope that the Supreme Court is able to address the matter of nationwide injunctions once and for all at the appropriate juncture,” the Justice Department added.

Breaking it down

The rule at issue was originally promulgated in August of last year, and addressed the use by immirgrants of food stamps, Medicaid, cash assistance, Section 8 housing, along with other federally-funded benefits.

Planned use of the aforementioned benefits must be considered by agents of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services when deciding whether an individual qualifies for a green card, and it can be grounds for exclusion from eligibility. In the past, only the use of cash assistance was taken into consideration for purposes of green card eligibility, but the new rule permits the government to consider the use of a wider range of non-cash benefits in making such decisions.

The public charge criteria will not, however, apply to those admitted to the United States as refugees or those who have been granted asylum.

Looking ahead

This isn’t the only immigration legal victory that the Trump administration has won recently. Thanks to a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, $3.6 billion that was previously earmarked for military construction projects can now be used to build Trump’s long-promised wall at the U.S.–Mexico border, CNBC reports.

“This is a victory for the rule of law,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham declared in response to the decision earlier this month. “We are committed to keeping our borders secure, and we will finish the wall.”

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