U.S. Supreme Court Allows Trump’s ‘Public Charge’ Immigration Curb

The U.S. Supreme Court gave the go-ahead on Monday for one of President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies, allowing his administration to implement a rule denying legal permanent residency to certain immigrants deemed likely to require government assistance in the future.

The justices, on a 5-4 vote, granted the administration’s request to lift a lower court’s injunction that had blocked the so-called public charge policy, which has been criticized by immigrant rights advocates as a “wealth test” that would disproportionately keep out non-white immigrants.

The court’s five conservative justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, carried the day. The court’s four liberal justices said they would have denied the administration’s request to put the injunction on hold. The action was announced even as Roberts sat as the presiding officer in Trump’s impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.

Lawsuits aiming to block the policy were filed against the administration by the states of New York, Connecticut and Vermont as well as by New York City and several nonprofit organizations.

In imposing an injunction blocking implementation of the rule, U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan on Oct. 11 called the policy “repugnant to the American Dream” and a “policy of exclusion in search of a justification.”

The administration had asked the high court to let the rule go into effect even before the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules on Trump’s appeal of Daniels’ injunction against the rule. The 2nd Circuit is considering the matter on an expedited basis, with legal papers to be submitted by Feb. 14 and arguments to be held soon afterward. 

The action by the Supreme Court the administration can implement the rule across the country except in Illinois, where a lower court decision preventing its enforcement in that state remains in place.


At issue is which immigrants will be granted legal permanent residency, known as a “green card.” Under Trump’s policy, immigration officers would consider factors such as age, educational level and English proficiency to decide whether an immigrant would be likely to become a “public charge” who would receive government benefits such as the Medicaid health insurance program for the poor.

The administration has said the new rule is necessary to better ensure that immigrants will be self-sufficient. Critics have said the rule would disproportionately bar low-income people from developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia from permanent residency.

Trump has made his tough immigration stance a hallmark of his presidency and his 2020 re-election campaign.

U.S. immigration law has long required officials to exclude a person likely to become a “public charge” from permanent residency. But U.S. guidelines in place for the past two decades had said that immigrants likely to become primarily dependent only on direct cash assistance or long-term institutionalization, in a nursing home for example, at the government’s expense would be barred under “public charge” grounds.

The new rule expands the “public charge” bar to anyone deemed likely to receive a much wider range of public benefits for more than an aggregate of 12 months over any 36-month period including healthcare, housing and food assistance.

The vast majority of people applying for permanent residency are not eligible for public benefits themselves, but a 2019 Urban Institute survey found that the rule is already deterring people from seeking benefits for U.S. citizen children, for fear of harming their own future immigration status. Benefits for family members are not considered under the rule.

Several other lawsuits challenging the rule are pending around the country. Two other federal appeals courts lifted nationwide injunctions ordered by lower courts blocking the rule, while a third appeals court let stand an injunction covering Illinois.

(Reporting by Kristina Cooke, Lawrence Hurley, Jonathan Stempel and Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham)


  1. My my—-common sense returns to the USA—thank God and Trump! Keep the freeloaders out, they add nothing to our country’s value stream. Welfare takers are guaranteed D-RAT votes, as they believe all the D-RAT freebie Pinnochio BS.

  2. so many forget that “Give me your tired, your poor.” was when that poetry could have had another stanza like “But remember that hard work is how to survive because nobody is required to feed the lazy”

  3. Give me your tired, your poor. Let’s us remember this: poetry is not policy. I would like to remind Judge Daniels that courts do not make public policy. What may have been good policy in the past may not be good policy now especially considering our national debt.

  4. To those who insist that a “wall” is not possible, then let’s hear your thoughts on paying for a bunch of illegals, having your kids/grandkids share overcrowded classrooms with them, or have resources devoted to bilinguality” or catching up semi-literate and undereducated students.

    We won’t go into the numerous public heath issues like smallpox, whooping cough, scabies, lice, tuberculosis, etc. imported with illegals.

    *clue: if you are too stupid or won’t learn the language of the country in which you live then why should you receive services or anything? That’s some stupid right there.

  5. fun thought for idiots like Phil who can’t think outside the box:
    Between legislation and policies Trump has effectively made a “wall” on illegals.

    Oh…and as far as Mexico paying. They are deploying AND PAYING for troops on their north and south borders. That’s another wall. q.v. the blocking of Central American illegals on their southern border.

    Walls are not just physical constructs, but the idiots who can’t see that usually vote Dimocratic.

  6. “The justices, on a 5-4 vote, granted the administration’s request to lift a lower court’s injunction that had blocked the so-called public charge policy, which has been criticized by immigrant rights advocates as a “wealth test” that would disproportionately keep out NON-WHITE immigrants. (emphasis mine)

    My friend and co-worker is Indian by nationality and has been trying to get his green card for years. He’s an engineer with a degree in business has had to play the all the legal loopholes to stay in the country while “refugees, illegals, etc” get all kinds of leniency.

    He’s not white by any measure, but he’s EDUCATED, which is the Democrat’s worst nightmare. He’s an awesome worker and colleague and FINALLY got his green card! My point being that he’s been overlooked all day these past years as the Democrats tell other illegals to, “just come on in!!”

  7. Good for the SC. We already have too many parasites dependent on tax dollars. Did you know that 2/3rds of the federal budget are for entitlements? Why invite more?

    Enough. We do not need to invite uneducated, unskilled, and, frankly, useless people to suck more of our tax dollars. We have plenty of those already. F them.

    Just as free speech does not shield you from consequences, so too does the freedom to make choices, especially bad ones. Personal responsibility..

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