Supreme Court opens the door for Trump’s updated ‘public charge’ immigration rule

On Monday, the Trump administration scored another legal victory for its immigration agenda. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the government can hold immigrants to its updated “public charge” rule.

Tighter welfare rules

The rule allows the government to deny green cards or visas based on the use of public welfare. The Clinton-era version of the standard took the use of cash benefits into consideration, but the newly-approved revisions will also allow the use of non-cash benefits, including food assistance, public housing, and medical assistance to be considered.

Those immigrants who use or are likely to use welfare benefits may have their adjustment of status application turned down by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, resulting in loss of a green card or denial of citizenship. The rule does not apply to those admitted as refugees or granted asylum.

“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,” said acting deputy secretary of DHS Ken Cuccinelli in a statement on Monday.

“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.

Border wall funding

The decision comes on the heels of another favorable court ruling earlier this month. On Jan. 9, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals said the Trump administration could use $3.6 billion earmarked for military construction projects to further build the southern border wall.

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham praised the ruling in a statement for having “lifted an illegitimate nationwide injunction entered by a lower court, and in doing so has allowed vital border wall construction to move forward using military construction funds.”

“This,” Grisham continued, “is a victory for the rule of law. We are committed to keeping our borders secure, and we will finish the wall.”

President Trump also celebrated the news, tweeting, “The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just reversed a lower court decision and gave us the go ahead to build one of the largest sections of the desperately needed Southern Border Wall, Four Billion Dollars. Entire Wall is under construction or getting ready to start!”

Travel ban to be expanded

The Wall Street Journal is also reporting that the Trump administration plans to expand the scope of its executive travel ban by adding additional countries to the current list.

In 2018, the Supreme Court upheld the ban on travel from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, and Venezuela. All seven were characterized by the administration as being places from which travelers could not be properly vetted.

The proposed new prohibition is expected to cover Sudan, Nigeria, Eritrea, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, and Belarus. As of yet, it’s not yet clear whether citizens of those countries will be blocked from entering the United States or simply subject edto a heightened level of scrutiny.

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