Election 2020

Supreme Court Denies Request to Block 'Public Charge' Rule During Pandemic

Immigrants from Central America reach the border in Tijuana, Mexico, to seek asylum in the United States on April 29, 2018. (Kyodo via AP)

The Supreme Court denied a request from several state attorneys general to put a hold on government enforcement of the “public charge” rule that denies immigrants eligibility for residency unless they can prove they are unlikely to go on public assistance.

The court had already decided that the government could go forward with the policy while it moves through the lower courts. But the state AG’s are fighting the policy and tried to use the pandemic as an excuse to move their case forward.

The Hill:

“The Supreme Court’s order tonight allows us to continue the fight to halt the Public Charge Rule during the current public health crisis, and gives us the opportunity to make our case in a federal court in New York,” James said in a statement. “We will soon file an emergency motion in the Southern District of New York because our country cannot afford to wait. The Public Charge Rule threatens the public’s health, our economy, and all New Yorker — citizens and non-citizens alike. Every person who doesn’t get the health coverage they need today risks infecting another person with the coronavirus tomorrow.”

James, who was joined by her counterparts from Connecticut and Vermont and the corporation counsel for New York City, argued in her emergency motion earlier this month that the new administration rule is a threat to public health amid the coronavirus crisis.

Not having health insurance is not a risk factor in contracting the virus. The notion that denying an immigrant residency because they can’t afford health insurance puts the public health at risk is absurd. Not following CDC guidelines is what puts the public health at greatest risk. Perhaps they should concentrate their fire on that.

Besides, the administration was already bending the rules a bit to accommodate sick people.

The Justice Department argued against a new injunction, saying that it’s unwarranted since the Trump administration would not consider immigrants’ use of public benefits related to the COVID-19 crisis in deciding whether they should be considered public charges.

“Rather than a wholesale suspension, the Executive Branch has instead opted to take more targeted steps to ensure that the Rule is being administered in an appropriate way in light of current conditions,” the department wrote in its own Supreme Court filing.

Any effort to make entry into the United States a privilege worth earning cannot be tolerated. Poor, illiterate, unskilled people who will be a burden on state and local governments for the rest of their lives should have our sympathy, but not a place in line.