On Wednesday the Supreme Court dismissed an effort by Republican attorneys general to mount a legal defense of a Trump-era immigration rule that the Biden administration rescinded. The move by SCOTUS leaves intact a lower appeals court ruling that rebuffed Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s effort to step into the shoes of the Trump administration in hopes of reviving the public charge rule through a legal victory.
The Hill reports:
The court’s dismissal was somewhat unusual, since the justices heard argument in the case earlier this term. Chief Justice John Roberts, in an opinion concurring with the court’s move, said the case ultimately raised too many legal questions that were beyond the scope of the issue the court had agreed to hear.
“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, who was joined by conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch.
The Trump-era rule prompted federal immigration authorities to deny U.S. entry and green card requests to immigrants who were likely to become reliant on government assistance. The rule It also expanded the criteria for determining the likelihood that an immigrant would become dependent on taxpayer-funded aid, otherwise known as a “public charge.”
Under the policy, an immigrant would be considered a public charge if they receive at least one public benefit for more than 12 months within any three-year period. These benefits include Medicaid, food stamps, welfare or public housing vouchers. The Trump administration rule also examined the likelihood of an immigrant using such benefits in the future.
Supporters of Trump’s rule, which updated an existing Clinton-era regulation, characterized it as a commonsense way to ensure that U.S.-bound immigrants are self-sufficient, and to prevent welfare programs from being overburdened. Led by Arizona, the Republican attorneys general contended that the rule stands to save states $1 billion a year.
President Biden’s Department of Homeland Security rapidly rescinded the rule in March 2021.