The Supreme Court, Friday, approved efforts by Republican officials to revive the Trump administration’s efforts to deny green cards to immigrants believed to be likely to become overly dependent on government benefits.
The Department of Homeland Security announced in 2019 that it would expand the definition of “public charge,” to apply to people whose application to become lawful permanent residents could be denied due to concerns that they would rely primarily on the government for their income.
In the past, recruitment was largely based on an assessment that the immigrant would rely on monetary benefits. But the Trump administration has expanded the definition to include non-cash benefits such as Medicaid, supplemental feeding and federal housing assistance.
Anyone who is likely to need this broader range of help for more than 12 months in any three-year period is swept up in the expanded definition.
In response to a series of lawsuits, lower courts have been divided over whether the revised rule violates federal law. But its application was eventually blocked, so the Trump administration appealed. Then the Biden administration decided that it would no longer defend the law.
A group of 13 Republican state attorneys general has urged the Supreme Court to consider whether they can take up the law’s defense. They said the rule could save all states about $1 billion annually.
The federal government has long had the power to deny lawful permanent residence to immigrants who would potentially become public fees, but the term has never been formally defined. Trump’s policy has been proposed to fill this void, adding non-cash benefits and other factors such as age, financial resources, employment history, education and health.
The expansion, she said, would promote “the ideals of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, ensuring that immigrants are able to provide for themselves and succeed here in America.”
The Supreme Court is likely to hear the case in the spring with a decision by June.