Image 01 Image 03

SCOTUS: Trump’s Immigration “Public Charge” Rule is Good to Go Pending Appeals

SCOTUS: Trump’s Immigration “Public Charge” Rule is Good to Go Pending Appeals

“If a single successful challenge is enough to stay the challenged rule across the country, the government’s hope of implementing any new policy could face the long odds of a straight sweep” — Justice Gorsuch

Monday, the Supreme Court issued an order allowing the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule to proceed, pending further appeals. The rule issued by the Department of Homeland Security would make it more difficult for immigrants to obtain immigration benefits if they are likely to use public assistance.

The decision was 5-4 and split neatly down party lines.


The rule that the government will now be able to enforce interprets a provision of federal immigration law that bans noncitizens from receiving a green card if the government believes that they are likely to become a “public charge” – that is, reliant on government assistance. In August 2019, the Department of Homeland Security defined “public charge” to refer to noncitizens who receive a variety of government benefits, including cash, health care or housing, for more than 12 months over a three-year period. The rule also considers factors such as age, employment history and finances to determine whether a noncitizen might become a public charge in the future.

A group of states and immigration groups went to court to challenge the rule, arguing that DHS’s interpretation of the law is not a reasonable one. The district court agreed with the challengers that they were likely to prevail and temporarily blocked the government from enforcing the rule, setting up the government’s request for the Supreme Court to intervene.

Last week the challengers filed briefs urging the justices to turn down the government’s request. They emphasized that the kind of relief that the government was seeking is normally intended to “preserve the status quo,” but allowing the government to enforce the rule would have exactly the opposite effect, because the rule is a “vast expansion” of what it means to be a public charge. Previously, they explained, the term “public charge” had applied only to “individuals who are primarily dependent on the government for long-term subsistence.” Moreover, they added, the government has not suggested that it needs to be able to enforce the rule for public safety or national security reasons.

More from CNBC:

District courts around the country had halted the rule from going into action, but the Trump administration was successful before two federal appeals courts, which would have allowed the policy to be enforced.

One nationwide injunction, issued by a district judge in New York and temporarily upheld by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month, still remained in effect.

The top court on Monday froze that injunction, pending a final decision from the 2nd Circuit. Following the 2nd Circuit’s final ruling, the case could eventually make its way back to the Supreme Court.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, who wrote a separate concurrence explaining his vote, said that the court was correct to halt the injunction, but that the “real problem” was the rise of nationwide injunctions.

“If a single successful challenge is enough to stay the challenged rule across the country, the government’s hope of implementing any new policy could face the long odds of a straight sweep” of all the district and appeals courts in the country, Gorsuch wrote.

Gorsuch’s concurrence was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.

The challenge to the rule was led by the state of New York and immigrant aid groups. The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws, defended the rule.

During a phone call with reporters, Ken Cuccinelli, acting DHS deputy secretary, said he was happy with the court’s decision. The Supreme Court, he said, was fed up with “activist judges.”

Order here:

SCOTUS Immigration Public Charge Ruling by Legal Insurrection on Scribd


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Is that an old photo showing Justice Kennedy instead of Kavenaugh?

Very terse and clear opinion by Gorsuch. I look forward to more. This forum shopping must stop.

Hopefully the cooler heads at the various circuits will take the message from Justice Gorsuch and Justice Thomas that a single federal district judge has no business creating an nationwide injunction absent some unique circumstances. If not then expect the Congress to act to do so. Assuming a sweep for r party in November then the pendulum could swing very far indeed. It isn’t beyond doubt that an emboldened r majority would exercise it’s power to create inferior court’s by carving up the 9th circuit and recasting the geographic boundaries of other circuits, adding and subtracting the numbers of authorized judges.

    “If not then expect the Congress to act to do so.”

    Only if there’s a GOP Congress. These nationwide injunctions, you’ll notice, favor left wing causes. Always. This is SOP for the left = getting the courts to do what can’t be done democratically via the people’s reps.

      Milhouse in reply to pfg. | January 28, 2020 at 1:25 am

      These nationwide injunctions, you’ll notice, favor left wing causes. Always.

      No, they don’t. You were quite happy with the injunction against DAPA, weren’t you. You didn’t object then. Now you’re just denying it ever happened.

        mailman in reply to Milhouse. | January 28, 2020 at 2:23 am

        Fuckface, how many injunctions these last three years have favoured conservatives?

        Maybe understand what people are saying before giving us your SCOTUS level opinion dickhead.

          Milhouse in reply to mailman. | January 28, 2020 at 3:23 pm

          Why are you limiting it to the last three years? Either you object to nationwide injunctions, including the DAPA one, or you don’t. You don’t get to object only to the ones against Trump. And you certainly don’t get to claim that all such injunctions are against Republicans after carefully limiting your time frame to a Republican administration.

Trump should announce that henceforth, if a district judge orders an injunction, the Administration will obey that injunction in that judge’s district and not elsewhere. There is no reason that a judge for one district in Hawaii should be able to dictate how the government operates in Florida.

    MarkS in reply to OldProf2. | January 27, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    I kinda disagree. Federal law should be applied equally everywhere in the country

      CKYoung in reply to MarkS. | January 27, 2020 at 8:12 pm

      I think I read that somewhere…

      zennyfan in reply to MarkS. | January 27, 2020 at 8:56 pm

      U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decisions are binding in their circuits only. Why should a district court judge, who sits in the lower of the two courts, have nationwide jurisdiction?

        Sanddog in reply to zennyfan. | January 27, 2020 at 10:13 pm

        the idea is if you have two competing decisions in the lower courts, it goes to the Supreme court for review.

          Milhouse in reply to Sanddog. | January 28, 2020 at 1:26 am

          Not necessarily. The Supreme Court may choose to take such a case, but often it just lets the contradiction continue, and the law remains different in different circuits.

    Milhouse in reply to OldProf2. | January 28, 2020 at 1:28 am

    That sounds reasonable, but here’s a question: Had 0bama made that same announcement, and proceeded to implement DAPA despite the injunction, how would you have felt about it?

Wow. Roberts not only has the time to manage the impeachment, he has time to help write an opinion and release it.

The decision was 5-4 and split neatly down party lines.
Pretty pathetic as it’s really mostly liberal democrat appointees that don’t want to follow the Constitution.

“The Supreme Court, he said, was fed up with ‘activist judges.’”

There are activist judges ON the SCOTUS in case acting DHS Deputy Secretary Cuccinelli hadn’t noticed.

JusticeDelivered | January 27, 2020 at 9:32 pm

Another blow to welfare seeking illegals.

Guys, the provision against issuing an immigrant visa to someone likely to become a public charge is longtanding in US immigration law. Doubtlessly it was used under the Obama, Bush II, and other administrations before them.

As a consular officer in Guangzhou, I had to turn down the child of a permanent resident because the permanent resident, who resided in NYC, reported an income of only USD $1000 per @. The father insisted he made more, so I told him i’d seen no proof, and could not proceed further than reject the case on grounds that the beneficiary would become a public charge in the USA.