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December 8, 2020

Public Charge rule Removed

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The Supreme Court, on March 9th, dismissed a case concerning a controversial Trump-era rule, ‘’public charge’’, that makes it more difficult for immigrants to obtain legal status if they use certain public benefits, such as Medicaid, food stamps, and housing vouchers, in response to a Justice Department request.

The new filing is the latest example of the Biden administration switching positions from the Trump era.

Last month, the justices agreed to take up a challenge to the so-called “public charge” rule brought by The Legal Aid Society, various groups, and state and local officials. But in a brief letter to the court on Tuesday, Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar told the justices that both sides had agreed that the challenge should be dismissed.

The “public charge” rule dates back to the Immigration Act of 1882. Federal lawmakers at the time wanted to make sure that immigrants would be able to take care of themselves and not end up being a public burden.

Under current regulations put in place in 1996, the term is defined as someone who is “primarily dependent” on government assistance, meaning it supplies more than half their income. But it only counted cash benefits. The Trump administration’s rule widened the definition of who is expected to be dependent on the government by including more benefit programs.

 

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