The Supreme Court intervenes in the fight for ‘welfare’ immigrants

On October 29, the Supreme Court agreed to rule on whether 14 states have the capacity to challenge President BidenJoe Biden Virginia’s defeat reveals Democrats’ struggle with rural voters After victory, Biden seeks political rebound Sunday shows progress: House passes bipartisan infrastructure bill; Democrats suffer electoral losses in Virginia MOREthe decision to rescind President TrumpDonald TrumpIsraeli officials say the United States should open a consulate for Palestinians in the West Bank Virginia’s loss reveals Democrats’ struggle with rural voters Sunday shows progress: House passes bipartisan infrastructure bill; Democrats suffer electoral losses in Virginia MOREThe regulation that prohibits immigration to anyone who may end up on the welfare rolls, known as the “public charge” rule.

The California-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the states had no standing, but that decision was appealed and the superior court decided to intervene. They will probably hear oral arguments later this month.

When the Biden administration Announced which would no longer enforce the Trump administration’s public charge regulations on March 9, 2021, declared that the regulations were unfair to people who “access health benefits and other government services available to them” and who “do not they conform to the values ​​of our nation. “

It may be unfair to immigrants who depend on public benefits, but I don’t think it violates our nation’s values. On the contrary, the history of the public charge provision indicates that our country has never wanted to admit immigrants who are likely to need financial assistance.

The provision

The public charge provision establishes that, “Any foreigner who … at the time of application for a visa, or … at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, it is likely that at any time it becomes a public charge is inadmissible. “

The provision further establishes that when determining whether a foreigner is inadmissible because he or she is likely to become a public charge, their (I) age must be taken into account; (II) health; (III) family situation; (IV) assets, resources and financial situation; (V) education and skills; and any statement of support – a contract that someone, usually a relative, signs to agree to support the prospective immigrant if they cannot support themselves.

Making the determination

Under the previous DHS regulations, which had been in effect since 1999, only government cash benefits that the alien has received or will receive were considered to determine whether it is likely to become a public charge. Non-monetary benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (BREAK), or food stamps; Health insurance; or housing subsidies. It was emphasized whether it would be “mainly dependent on the government for subsistence “.

On August 4, 2019, the Trump administration published regulations which added the consideration of non-monetary benefits to “better guarantee that foreigners subject to the ground of inadmissibility of public charge are self-sufficient, that is to say, they do not depend on public resources to satisfy their needs, but rather depend on their own capacities, as well as on the resources of family members, sponsors and private organizations ”.

The regulations say that the term “public charge” means a person who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months total within any 36-month period.

The determination must be based on the totality of the circumstances in the applicant’s case.

History of the provision of public charge

Public charge provisions It dates back to the colonial period of the United States, when several colonies enacted protective measures to prohibit the immigration of people who could become a drain on public resources.

In the 19th century, East Coast states such as New York and Massachusetts enacted state laws that prohibited the immigration of an alien considered to be a “person unable to care for himself without becoming a public charge.”

the Immigration Act of 1882 made the public charge provision a federal law, using the same idiom that was used in state statutes. the Immigration Act of 1891 created a federal Immigration Service to screen foreigners seeking admission to the United States. It made inadmissible “all idiots, crazy people, homeless people or people likely to become a public charge.” the Immigration Act of 1903 it also made “beggars” inadmissible. the Immigration Act of 1907 language was added to exclude potential immigrants who have “mental or physical defects of a nature that may affect the ability … to earn a living.”

Public charge determinations

Because the law does not provide a specific definition Of “public charge”, judicial and administrative decisions have played an important role in defining the provision. But these decisions have left it primarily to the discretion of the executing agencies and their officials. Therefore, it seems likely that the courts will view the Trump administration’s regulations as a legitimate and permissible interpretation of the provision.

On the other hand, I do not expect the courts to hold that a new president lacks the authority to set his own guidelines.

The main change is to add consideration of non-cash benefits, and this is consistent with the history and development of public charge provision, reflecting an aversion to paying for services that immigrants need if they cannot support themselves. . And American taxpayers have to pay the benefits that support those immigrants, whether cash or non-cash.

That is why an affidavit of support will be considered when making the public charge determination. It shifts the burden of supporting an immigrant who becomes a public charge from American taxpayers to the immigrant’s family, or anyone else who is willing to take that responsibility.

The aversion to covering such expenses is also reflected in the lawsuit that Texas and 13 other states filed to prevent Biden from repealing the regulations. In it, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said:

“Without the public charge rule, our budget for Medicaid and other vital services will explode and spread too thin, costing taxpayers millions more and reducing the quality of service we can provide.”

To what extent should US taxpayers be required to bear these expenses? The presidents answer that question.

The Biden administration’s refusal to enforce Trump’s regulations makes it appear that Biden is more concerned with the needs of immigrants than with the financial consequences for taxpayers.

I think it would be better if Congress reviewed the provision to provide more guidance on how it should be implemented rather than leaving it up to whoever is in the White House, or the unelected judges in our federal courts.

Nolan rappaport He was inducted into the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration attorney for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims for four years. Before working on the Judicial Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow his blog to

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *