Supreme Court Allows Trump Administration To Proceed With Immigration Rules

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The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Trump administration to begin implementing new “wealth test” rules making it easier to deny immigrants residency or admission to the United States because they have used or might use public-assistance programs.

The decision, issued in response to an emergency petition by the administration, lifts a nationwide injunction imposed by a district judge in New York. That means the government can begin applying the new standards, which critics say would place a burden on poor immigrants from non-English-speaking countries, while legal challenges continue in lower courts.

The order supporting the Trump administration was handed down as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was presiding over President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. He was joined by conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh in lifting the injunction.

All four of the court’s liberal justices — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — noted their disagreement. Neither side explained its reasoning, which is not uncommon in such emergency motions.

The decision echoed past orders in which the court’s conservatives allowed implementation of administration objectives — restricting transgender service members, for instance, or shifting Defense Department funds to build a border wall — while legal challenges continued.

“This decision allows the Government to implement regulations effectuating longstanding Federal law that newcomers to this country must be financially self-sufficient and not a ‘public charge’ on our country and its citizens,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

The rules establish new criteria for who can be considered dependent on the U.S. government for benefits — “public charges,” in the words of the law — and thus ineligible for green cards and a path to U.S. citizenship. They were proposed to start in October but were delayed by the lower-court decisions.

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