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

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
January 9, 2023USshare

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mount a legal defense of Trump’s “public charge” rule after President Joe Biden stopped defending the measure and later rescinded it.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The Department of Homeland Security rescinded the rule in March 2021, two months after Biden took office.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.

In June, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a concurrence joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch to dismiss that challenge.

“It has become clear that this mare’s nest could stand in the way of our reaching the question presented on which we granted certiorari, or at the very least, complicate our resolution of that question,” wrote Roberts at the time.

“When this and other suits challenging the Rule were first brought in 2019, the Government defended it,” he also wrote. “And when multiple lower courts, including the District Court here, found the Rule unlawful, the Government appealed those decisions. After a change in administrations, though, the Government reversed course and opted to voluntarily dismiss those appeals, leaving in place the relief already entered.”

Biden tours border
President Joe Biden speaks with a member of the Border Patrol as they walk along the U.S.–Mexico border fence in El Paso, Texas, on Jan. 8, 2023. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

But Roberts added last year’s decision “should not be taken as reflective of a view on any of the foregoing issues, or on the appropriate resolution of other litigation, pending or future” in connection to the immigration rule.

The White House last September adopted a narrower rule under which immigrants would be deemed public charges only when they are likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, mirroring a 1999 regulation that had been in place for two decades. Texas filed a separate federal lawsuit challenging Biden’s rule on Jan. 5.

“I’ve sued [President Joe] Biden over a dozen times to secure our southern border,” Paxton wrote on Twitter in reference to his latest lawsuit against the administration. “Now, just as 2023 is starting, I’m bringing another lawsuit—the first of its kind in the nation on Biden’s disastrous new public-charge rule. I’ll keep suing [and] winning until he [and] his lawless Dems follow the law.”

The Republican attorney general alleged Biden is promoting an open borders agenda after enacting the new rule. Biden has received constant criticism from Republicans about his immigration policies and security along the U.S.–Mexico border.

On Sunday, Biden visited El Paso, Texas, and met with law enforcement officials and watched demonstrations. The president also visited the El Paso Migrant Services Center, which houses and supports people who recently crossed into the United States illegally.

After arriving in Texas, the president met with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican who handed a paper that Abbott later said was a proposal with several solutions to immigration problems.

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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