Supreme Court Again Rebuffs Attempt to Revive Trump-Era Public Charge Immigration Policy


Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an attempt by 14 Republican state attorneys general to revive former President’s Trump's public charge immigration policy.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an attempt by 14 Republican state attorneys general to revive former President’s Trump’s public charge immigration policy that barred certain immigrants from gaining lawful permanent resident status if they were deemed likely to use government benefits.

The appeal was led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who was joined by attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and West Virginia. The group argued that they should be able to defend Trump’s rule, given that it could stand to collectively save states close to $1 billion annually.

The 2019 Trump policy had significantly widened the “public charge” definition, which made it more difficult for migrants to obtain permanent residency (green cards) if they used certain public benefits such as Medicaid health coverage, housing vouchers and food stamps for more than 12 months in any three-year period.

Because of this rule, millions of immigrant families went without the health care, housing and nutritional support they needed during the pandemic. People avoided accessing these basic necessities out of fear that they would lose their opportunity for legal status.

The Biden administration allowed this rule to be vacated across the country before formally withdrawing it in March, 2021. President Biden’s 2022 final public charge rule—which significantly narrowed the definition of “public charge” to mirror that in a 1999 regulation that had been in place for two decades—went into effect December 23, 2022 and ensures that people can access the resources they need without fear of consequences.

Last June, the Supreme Court threw out a similar attempt by Republican-led states to revive Trump’s public charge rule, and the court’s most recent decision to shut it down again could signal the end of further efforts to revive this rule.

What is the New Public Charge Rule 2022?

The public charge changes that went into effect December 23, 2022 largely codify the initial 1999 field guidance of determination. Eligible non-U.S. citizens may now enroll in government assistance programs without fear of being penalized on their green card applications. Non-citizens will not be considered a public charge for receiving certain non-cash benefits supporting their health, housing and nutrition needs – including Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, and others regulated by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).

Working With An Immigration Attorney- California

With the recent changes to the public charge rule, newcomers are encouraged to seek legal guidance in order to learn about the public charge update and how it may positively impact their ability to be granted permanent resident status. Our team of attorneys specializing in U.S. immigration and nationality law can provide guidance on which programs you may be eligible for and can make sure you are granted access to the public services and benefits you need. Contact one of our attorneys today.


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