The Supreme Court on Monday gave the government the green light to apply the “public charge” rule, whereby it can refuse residence permits to migrants who receive public benefits, a decision that immediately sparked criticism from civil organizations.
With a vote of 5-4 in which the conservative judges prevailed, endorsed the implementation of the rule, which the Executive announced in August 2019 and should take effect in October but was blocked by the district courts of New York, California, Washington, Illinois and Maryland.
“Today, the Court (legitimately) grants a stay, allowing the government to pursue (for now) its policy everywhere except Illinois,” the Supreme Court decision said.
Already last December, two courts of appeals dismissed in separate decisions the rulings of the California, Washington and Maryland courts against the regulations promoted by the Donald Trump Administration.
For the deputy director of the organization America’s Voice, Pili Tobar, the Supreme Court’s decision confirms that “immigration in Trump’s America” is “only for the rich.
The controversial rule states that a legal immigrant will be defined as a “public charge” if he receives “one or more designated public benefits” for more than 12 months in a three-year period.
These public benefits include food assistance, housing assistance vouchers, and programs that subsidize the high cost of medicine in the United States, among others.
Lorella Praeli, president of the organization Community Change Action, warned that failure to protect “the most vulnerable will have lasting consequences for women, children and the elderly,” and called the rule “discriminatory.
The “public charge” measure also aims to reduce the number of legal migrants allowed to enter and reside in the country, by facilitating the rejection of applications for “green cards” (as permanent residence permits are known) or some visas.
Thus, the authorities will be able to determine whether the migrant can become at any given time or has become a “public charge” for the Administration; that is, whether he or she “depends primarily” on assistance from public funds to subsist, and then cancel his or her legal immigration status.
In this way, a person holding a permanent resident’s card or some type of visa obtained through legal channels could see his or her situation in the country affected if he or she cannot maintain his or her personal economy without public assistance.
The measure does not affect refugees, asylees and victims of domestic violence and human trafficking who reside in the United States.
FWD.us, an association created by technology leaders who support a new immigration policy and who filed an “amicus brief” against the regulation, considered that the Supreme Court’s decision will make life “more difficult” for those who aspire to become U.S. citizens.
“This policy is a subterfuge effort to cut legal immigration and will hurt millions of families (including native-born Americans), our communities and our economy,” FWD.us President Todd Schulte said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum, Ali Noorani, said studies have found that this rule could prevent half of the spouses of foreign-born U.S. citizens from getting their “green card.
“Hurting children and families should not be an American value,” Noorani added, while Jess Morales Rocketto, president of the Families Belong Together organization, lamented that the Trump Administration is “once again attacking the spirit of the American dream.