Supreme Court Rejects Texas-Led Attempt to Protect Trump-Era Immigration Rule

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a Texas-led challenge to reinstate a Trump-era policy that blocked certain immigrants from gaining permanent residency status if they are deemed likely to qualify for government benefits.

The high court did not say why it rejected the challenge, listing the case under its list of “certiorari denied” cases (pdf).

An appeal from 14 Republican-led state attorneys general, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, sought to rescind a lower court ruling against their request to mount a legal defense of Trump’s “public charge” rule after President Joe Biden stopped defending the measure and later rescinded it. The policy was put into effect by Trump’s administration in February 2020 and was ended by the Biden administration in March 2021.

Other than Texas, the attorneys general are from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

Last year, a federal judge in Illinois vacated the rule nationwide. The judge later rejected the Republican bid to intervene, saying the request by the state officials came too late, and the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last June agreed with the lower court’s ruling.

The case did not focus on whether the rule was constitutional, but instead focused on whether the Biden administration followed the proper rulemaking procedures when it revoked it. The policy had made it difficult for immigrants to obtain permanent residency, or a “green card,” if they used public benefits such as Medicaid, housing vouchers, or food stamps.

The Department of Homeland Security rescinded the rule in March 2021, two months after Biden took office. Republicans argued that the administration abandoned the usual public comment period that often precedes the rescinding of major regulations.

The White House, meanwhile, abandoned the Department of Justice’s legal defense of the Trump-era program after it was challenged in court.

Another Case Dismissed

Also last year, the Supreme Court dismissed another attempt to revive the Trump-era “public charge” rule. Several Republican states had appealed to intervene in a case that had challenged the rule before the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case before ultimately dismissing it.

By Jack Phillips

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