DOJ Ends Defense of Trump’s Public Charge Rule on Immigrants

DOJ will no longer defend Trump's public charge rule
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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) informed the Supreme Court on Tuesday that it will stop defending the Trump administration’s public charge rule on immigrants.

Before Pres. Donald Trump took office, the federal government has a long-standing policy ensuring that immigrants seeking to enter the United States must be self-sufficient and will not need federal cash assistance or long-term hospitalizations.

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (INA) states that immigrants who are likely to become public charge are inadmissible.

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Multiple cities and states opposed Trump’s expanded public charge rule

In 2018, the Trump administration proposed changing the definition and expanding the public charge rule on immigrants. A coalition of multiple cities and states opposed the proposal, which was considered an attack on legal immigrants.

The following year, it published the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule that aims to deny visas and green cards or legal permanent residency to immigrants who will likely use or received non-cash public benefits such as Medicaid, federal housing, and food stamps.

Several individuals, organizations, and states including California and New York sued the Trump Administration. They alleged that the new rule is unconstitutional. They also alleged that  it was based on racial bias and “disregards clear congressional intent and a century’s worth of case law.”

The DOJ’s move to no longer defend the public charge rule is the latest in its series of decisions since President Joe Biden took office. The Justice Department has been dropping its positions on cases during the Trump administration.

Supreme Court allowed the implementation of the rule

It is noteworthy that the Justice Department’s decision comes over a year after the Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to implement the rule.

At the time of the Supreme Court’s ruling, a final decision on a nationwide injunction against the rule was still pending at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second District.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York State Attorney General Letitia James continued their legal efforts to permanently stop the implementation of the regulation.

In September 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second District issued its final ruling allowing the implementation of the public charge rule nationwide. The decision stayed the July 2020 injunction that prevented the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from enforcing the rule during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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