SCOTUS rules in favor of “public charge”

The “inhumane and hateful” rule is part of a broader assault on social welfare

January 27, 2020

On January 27, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Trump administration’s request to move forward with implementing the “public charge” rule. The public charge rule change would effectively deny legal permanent residency from immigrants deemed likely to require government assistance. In so doing, the Supreme Court bypassed a federal court ruling which blocked the rule from taking effect. The SCOTUS has now greenlit a policy of family separation, an arbitrary and pernicious “wealth test,” and a broader assault on public benefits programs. 

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WA) referred to the “public charge” rule as one of the administration’s “inhumane and hateful” immigration policies. It has already chilled individuals’ and families’ use of public benefits assistance. We have written about the public charge rule in the past, condemning it as “part of this administration’s broad-based effort to limit immigration” from non-white populations. For the sizable portion of American Muslims who are either immigrants or the children of immigrants, American citizenship would not have been possible under this current public charge rule. One other such “public charge” policy, introduced through the State Department, would deport those who require social welfare.

The context surrounding the ruling only underscores the importance of passing a legislative fix to the public charge rule. It was originally introduced in September of 2018 by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has had two acting secretaries since then. Amid the flux, the public charge rule was pushed through by none other than noted white nationalist Stephen Miller. At the time of the SCOTUS ruling, public charge was being actively litigated against in several district courts. Despite this backdrop, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Trump administration by way of a 5-4 vote. 

This past summer, we asked you to contact your members of Congress to urge them to support H.R.3222, the No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act, a bill which would defund the public charge rule and effectively prohibit it from being implemented. We ask that you implore your representatives to cosponsor this bill and bring it to the House floor for a vote. 

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