HomeAsian AmericansImmigrants to be penalized for using public benefits beginning this week

Immigrants to be penalized for using public benefits beginning this week

Citizenship Ceremony July 4, 2019
USCIS Photo of citizenship ceremony

A ruling from the US Supreme Court late Friday clears the way for the Trump administration to make it harder for legal immigrants who are likely to apply for government benefits to get a green card, reports The Hill.

Known by its critics as the wealth test, the policy discourages people seeking legal citizenship from applying for housing assistance, medicaid, food stamps and other public benefits.

The high court lifted a national injunction in January against the public benefit, but Friday it removed the last legal obstacle from its implementation in all 50 states beginning Monday.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a blunt dissenting opinion of the 5-4 split decision blasting the five justices for making its ruling despite a lower court in Illinois being scheduled to take up the Illinois-specific stay this week.

“Today’s decision follows a now-familiar pattern. The Government seeks emergency relief from this Court, asking it to grant a stay where two lower courts have not,” wrote Sotomayor. “The Government insists—even though review in a court of appeals is imminent—that it will suffer irreparable harm if this Court does not grant a stay. And the Court yields.

“It is hard to say what is more troubling: that the Government would seek this extraordinary relief seemingly as a matter of course, or that the Court would grant it,” she concluded.

The White House applauded the decision, according to the Economic Times.

“This final rule will protect hardworking American taxpayers, safeguard welfare programs for truly needy Americans, reduce the Federal deficit, and re-establish the fundamental legal principle that newcomers to our society should be financially self-reliant and not dependent on the largesse of United States taxpayers,” said White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.

Late last month, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), and Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) joined together to oppose the public charge rule.

“Our immigration system has long been built on the principle that immigrants from all walks of life make our country better.  And despite the false claims made to justify this public charge rule, the data shows that immigrants help grow the economy and use fewer government resources than native-born individuals. Regardless, the Trump Administration has spent the past three years creating an immigration system that is cruelly stacked against immigrants of color and the public charge rule is no exception,” the groups stated.

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