Washington, DC – The U.S. Supreme Court has given the Trump administration permission to move forward with restricting immigration access to individuals who have the greatest likelihood of relying on government programs intended to help low-income Americans.
Those seeking to legally immigrate to the U.S. are generally required to provide evidence that they have sufficient resources to keep them from relying on government programs, such as food stamps, housing assistance, or Medicaid, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Trump administration made an emergency request to the court in order to begin enforcing rules which expand of the pool of individuals who are most likely to become “public charges,” according to the news outlet.
Under the new requirements, immigrants must show that they are “self-sufficient” and that they will not become an economic burden for taxpayers, CBS News reported.
Prospective immigrants who intend to or who are likely to rely on government benefits for 12 months or more during a three-year period could be designated as a “public charge.”
Age, health, proficiency in the English language, wealth, and educational skills are also taken into consideration.
A “public charge” designation could result in the denial of permanent U.S. residency, a green card, and in determining potential removal from the country.
Critics alleged that the rule changes are nothing more than a “wealth test” to keep low-income people from less-affluent countries out of the U.S.
In October, several judges issued rulings blocking the rule changes while litigation continues in lower courts, The Wall Street Journal reported.
One federal judge referred to the “public charge” rule as being “repugnant to the American dream,” according to CBS News.
But three of the four injunctions against it were lifted by circuit courts across the country in recent weeks.
The U.S. Supreme Court granted the Trump administration’s emergency request on Monday in a 5-to-4 vote, The Wall Street Journal reported.
As a result, the new restrictions will be applicable everywhere except Illinois, were a statewide injunction is still in effect, according to CBS News.
Department of Homeland Security Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said he was pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling, and said he was frustrated with “activist judges” implementing nationwide injunctions, CNBC reported.
In his concurrence, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that such injunctions are a “real problem” today.
“If a single successful challenge is enough to stay the challenged rule across the country, the government’s hope of implementing any new policy could face the long odds of a straight sweep,” Gorsuch noted.
“The real problem here is the increasingly common practice of trial courts ordering relief that transcends the cases before them,” he continued, according to The Hill. “Whether framed as injunctions of ‘nationwide,’ ‘universal,’ or ‘cosmic’ scope, these orders share the same basic flaw — they direct how the defendant must act toward persons who are not parties to the case.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James blasted the ruling, calling it an “egregious attempt to infringe upon the values of our nation,” CNBC reported.
“We have already received a favorable decision in the district court and are continuing our fight against the Trump Administration in the Court of Appeals,” James declared. “We remain committed to fighting against this misguided rule and will continue to pursue every legal tool available to permanently stop it.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez denounced the decision in a tweet.
“This is shameful. America shouldn’t have a wealth test for admission. It’s a place where millions of people are descendants of immigrants who came w nothing & made a life,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “The American Dream isn’t a private club with a cover charge – it’s the possibility of remaking your future.”