U.S. Supreme Court rejects Republican bid to defend Trump’s immigration rule

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an offer by Republican state officials to take over the legal defense of a hardline immigration rule imposed by former President Donald Trump barring permanent residency to immigrants deemed likely to need government benefits.

The unsigned one-sentence ruling “dismissed as recklessly granted” an appeal by 13 Republican attorneys general led by Mark Brnovich of Arizona seeking to defend the rule in court after Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration refused to do so and canceled it. The rule widened the scope of immigrants deemed likely to become a “public charge” dependent primarily on the government for their livelihood.

State attorneys general had hoped to ask lower courts to overturn rulings favorable to various challengers to the rule, including a number of Democratic-led states.

The Biden administration proposed a new public charge rule in February that it called more “fair and humane.” This would avoid penalizing people who seek medical care and other services.

Trump’s rule was in effect from February 2020 until the Biden administration overturned it in March 2021, acting on a ruling in a separate court case in Illinois that overturned the rule nationwide. . Republican state officials have also sought to intervene in the matter in their uphill battle to revive Trump’s rule.

US guidelines in place for the past two decades had stated that immigrants likely to become primarily dependent on direct cash assistance or long-term institutionalization, such as in a nursing home, at the expense of the state, would be prohibited from lawful permanent residence, known as a “green card.”

Trump’s policy extended that to anyone deemed likely to receive a broader range of federal benefits, even non-monetary ones, such as the Medicaid health care program, housing and food assistance for more than 12 months at the time. total over a period of 36 months.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal ruled in 2020 that Trump’s policy impermissibly broadens the definition of who counts as a “public charge” in violation of a federal law called the Administrative Procedure Act. Other courts have made similar decisions.

Brnovich sought to intervene in a challenge to Trump’s immigration rule involving three lawsuits, including two filed in California and Washington state by 18 mostly Democratic-led states and the District of Columbia. Brnovich was joined by officials from Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia.

Republican officials said the public charge rule would save states more than $1 billion a year by limiting the immigration of people who are not self-sufficient.

During the period the policy was enforced, the government issued only five adverse rulings under it, according to court documents, all of which have since been overturned.

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