Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Argument From Republicans Asking To Defend Trump Immigration Policy

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case in which a group of Republican state officials asks to be allowed to enforce a rule issued by President Donald Trump’s administration regarding permanent residency for certain immigrants. 

The announcement was made Friday in Arizona v. City and County of San Francisco, California, means the court will consider arguments regarding the rule that provides for denial of permanent resident status to some immigrants considered likely to need ongoing government benefits and assistance.

Thirteen Republican Attorneys General filed an appeal with the court to review a lower federal court’s decision to eliminate their power to enforce the Trump-era “public charge” rule. Led by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, the group challenges the Biden administration’s decision to scrap the rule, which a federal judge upheld in Illinois.

The other attorneys joining Brnovich are from Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia.

The “public charge” rule enacted under Trump expanded previously used guidelines for determining eligibility for a “green card,” providing a migrant permanent legal residency. Before the Trump administration, the regulations stated that immigrants who are expected to become predominantly dependent on government cash assistance or who would require long-term institutionalization for health reasons should be disqualified for a green card.

The Trump policy expanded the class of migrants ineligible for green card status to any migrants who are likely to need benefits from a much broader class for more than 12 months out of any 36 months. The benefits to be considered include Medicaid as well as food or housing assistance.

The attorney’s general argues that the “coordinated dismissals” of the public charge rule create a “dangerous path” for future presidential administrations. Allowing Biden to effectively rescind the Trump rule without going through the correct administrative procedure violates federal law.

The Biden administration petitioned the court to refuse the request to hear the case, claiming that the Trump rule is no longer in place and that states’ ability to interfere with federal enforcement is “at best hypothetical.”

The Supreme Court stated in its decision agreeing to hear the case that it would examine whether states should be permitted to intervene to defend a rule, such as the Trump public charge rule, when the federal government has opted to halt enforcement without explicitly rescinding the rule.