Supreme Court rejects effort to salvage Trump rule barring welfare dependents from green cards

 January 10, 2023

The Supreme Court has once again rejected an effort from Republicans to restore President Trump's "public charge" rule, which limited green cards to foreign nationals who can take care of themselves without government assistance.

The high court rejected an appeal from 14 Republican attorneys general, led by Texas' Ken Paxton (R).

Supreme Court upholds Biden rule

The Republican states sought to intervene in defense of Trump's rule, which they say has saved states about $1 billion a year, but their appeals were turned away by a federal judge and later, an appeals court.

The Biden administration formally introduced its "fair and humane" version of the "public charge" rule in December, after axing Trump's in the early months of Biden's term.

The new rule uses a significantly narrower definition of "public charge," eliminating those reliant on any non-cash benefit such as Medicaid, food stamps or housing assistance.

Biden' version models a 1999 guidance that defines a public charge as someone who is "primarily" reliant on cash assistance or who will require long-term institutionalization by the state.

"Fair and humane"?

While Biden's version of the rule is only about 20 years old, he has framed his version as "consistent with America’s bedrock values" and a return to the historic norm.

“We will not penalize individuals for choosing to access the health benefits and other supplemental government services available to them,” Biden's Department of Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas said previously.

Trump introduced the "public charge" rule in 2019 as part of his effort to curb mass immigration, which has brought crushing burdens on American citizens in recent decades.

Biden's "fair and humane" policy is likely to bring more poor, unskilled immigrants to settle in the United States through legal pathways, imposing further costs for taxpayers as the country absorbs record numbers of illegal immigrants on Biden's watch.

Court wades into immigration chaos

At least 2 million illegal immigrants crossed the border in 2022, a record that is likely to rise if and when Biden is successful in nixing Trump's Title 42 border policy. The Supreme Court moved in December to uphold Title 42 indefinitely, despite Biden's request to end the "obsolete" public health rule.

Biden has said he has no choice but to continue enforcing Title 42 until the court renders a decision.

In the meantime, Biden has angered liberal immigration advocates by expanding the use of Title 42 -- an implicit admission that the border isn't as "secure" as Biden claims.

The Supreme Court also dismissed a separate Republican challenge on "public charge" last year.

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Thomas Jefferson
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