Interest charge

SCOTUS hears GOP push to defend Trump-era public charge rule; Arizona AG calls Biden’s moves ‘unprecedented’

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments from a coalition of Republican attorneys general seeking to intervene to defend the Trump-era public charge rule – after the Biden administration dropped the legal defense of the rule, and a since sought to introduce a replacement.

More than a dozen Republican attorneys general, led by Mark Brnovich of Arizona, sought to defend the 2019 public charge rule, which expanded the definition of “public charge” to include an immigrant who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months. over a 36-month period — and included a substantial number of benefits.

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The “public charge” consideration is used when a legal immigrant on a temporary visa applies for permanent legal status, and officials consider whether the immigrant is likely to be on welfare.

These benefits included in the 2019 rule included Supplemental Security Income (SSI), cash assistance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), as well as most forms of Medicaid and the Medicaid program. Nutritional Assistance (SNAP), commonly referred to as food stamps.

The Biden administration has since said the rule is inconsistent with US values ​​and has refused to defend it against legal challenges and dropped it. Its entry into force had previously been blocked by a number of appeal courts.

Republican attorneys general have asked that they be allowed to step in and defend the rule. Brnovich, in an interview with Fox News, said he was pleased with how the closing arguments went in his effort to convince the justices that the Biden administration’s abandonment of legal defense in multiple courts was unprecedented.

“I’m happy with our briefing and happy with what happened in the courtroom today,” he said. “I think what’s been made clear, even by the Biden administration, is that what they did in removing the rule from public charge and their underhanded litigation strategy was unprecedented, and I think even the left of the center justices recognized that the Department of Justice was doing something unprecedented.”

Brnovich accused the administration of “strategic surrender” and collusion with the plaintiffs in the cases.

SUPREME COURT AGREES TO HEAR REPUBLICAN EFFORTS TO DEFEND TRUMP-ERA POLICY ON IMMIGRANTS AND WELFARE

Reuters reported that both liberal and conservative Supreme Court justices questioned why the administration struck down the policy the way it did rather than use a formal rule-making process to replace it, which raised the possibility that the administration had violated the law on administrative procedures. This law has already tripped up the Biden administration, and it is how a federal court found that the administration had illegally ended the Trump-era “Stay in Mexico” policy.

However, Reuters also reported that some justices, including conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh, noted that it is not unusual for administrations to stop defending policies they oppose.

“I hope the court, I think the court will do the right thing and allow us to intervene in the case and fully defend the public charge rule,” Brnovich told Fox News.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration last week announced its own public charge rule that would negate many of the additional benefits the Trump administration wanted to consider. Under the Biden administration’s new rule, SSI, TANF, state, tribal and local cash assistance for income maintenance and “long-term institutionalization at government expense” would still be taken into account. into account when officials would make a decision on public charges.

However, the administration is proposing to ignore a range of other taxpayer-funded benefits, which foreign nationals might receive without ever being held against them when applying for a green card. These include food stamps/SNAP, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), most Medicaid benefits, housing allowances, and transportation vouchers.

“Under this proposed rule, we will return to the historical understanding of the term ‘public charge,’ and individuals will not be penalized for choosing to access health benefits and other additional government services available to them,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. in a report.

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Brnovich said the rule itself admits that narrowing that definition will lead to increased costs for states, giving them an incentive to defend the rule.

“I think this demonstrates once again that the Biden administration is going to use whatever means necessary and do whatever it needs to do to advance a far-left agenda and that’s why it’s so important that people like me are fighting to be on the offensive, pushing back against the feds that are going too far,” he said.