Supreme Court Allows Trump to Enforce ‘Public Charge’ Immigration Rule

As an immigration law firm, we at Ankeny Law work to help our clients fully understand the laws that apply to you so that you can get the best representation and make the best possible decisions for yourselves and your family. That is why we want to keep you updated on the various headlines and news stories that may impact members of the immigrant community.

You may have heard that recently the Supreme Court lifted the injunction that had prevented Trump’s administration from enforcing their ‘public charge’ immigration rule. This ruling has led to a lot of discussion about what this might mean for people who want to gain a green card.

Here is what we want our clients to understand.

What happened with this Supreme Court ruling?

Previously, the Trump administration had pushed to create restrictions on those who wanted to obtain permanent residency status in the United States but also relied on various forms of public assistance. This law had resulted in a considerable amount of pushback from a number of states, with multiple challenges filed in courts across the country.

The legislation has since been debated in courtrooms in multiple states, including in the Supreme Court. People have discussed the merits and legality of scrutinizing the permanent residency applications from those who either relied on public assistance or were likely to.

The Supreme Court recently ruled 5-4 that this law should be allowed to be enforced across the country. This ruling has struck down the last of the freezes that had stopped the law from being enforced. The law, therefore, is now in effect across the country.

What does this announcement mean?

The law that was put forth by Trump’s administration said that applicants for permanent residency status– or a green card– who relied on public assistance would have their applications examined more closely and would become more likely to have their application rejected. This public assistance might come in the form of Medicaid, food stamps, and other so-called safety nets.

In the past, various federal rules had determined the likelihood of a particular immigrant becoming a ‘public charge’ based on a more narrow view of public benefits, instead scrutinizing those who had needed cash assistance. This new law, therefore, would make enforcement significantly more strict.

It is important to note, however, that just because the Supreme Court has said that law can be enforced, that does not mean that all the details concerning how it will be put into action have been worked out. The lower courts still have multiple challenges and cases pending that address various issues with the law. It is also possible that parts of the law will return to the Supreme Court in the future for further reviews.

How will this law impact immigrant communities?

The potential implications of this law can be felt by many immigrant communities. The Kaiser Family Foundation has reported that 27 percent of legal immigrants could find that their applications have a negative weight added to them over the new regulations. Over three-quarters might also experience additional scrutiny when they file applications for permanent residency.

There have also been some reported concerns that poor immigrants may become more reluctant to apply for, and use, the benefits that they need to avoid any negative implications on the applications.

Even before this law went into effect, the Trump Administration has been more stringent in their reviewing of visa applications. More than ten times as many were disqualified based on the implications that they could become a public charge compared to the number disqualified under the Obama administration.

On the other hand, immigrants should not try to interpret the law for themselves. They should not assume that it applies to them without carefully reviewing their individual case with someone trained in immigration law. Many immigrants might find themselves assuming that the law will apply to them when it does not necessarily need to.

What should immigrants do about this new law?

It is important for immigrants to avoid panicking over this ruling. Remember that there is a good chance that the ruling itself will not apply to your particular application. There are also still a number of challenges to the law circulating through the lower courts. This could easily result in changes in the law and its enforcement in the near future.

Instead, if you are an immigrant hoping to pursue permanent residency status for yourself or a family member, you should work on getting the most accurate explanation of this law and who it impacts. This will help you determine if the regulations in the law apply to your particular case and what can be done about it.

Working with a lawyer throughout your immigration case will help you make the best legal decisions to empower you to present a strong application for permanent residency. That is why we at Ankeny Law work to help our clients understand legal headlines.

When it comes to immigration, applying for permanent residency is a big step. It involves going through an application process and being able to demonstrate an even greater commitment to your new country of residence. This can be an intimidating process. Therefore, understanding all the laws and rules is paramount to success. At Ankeny Law, we have built our immigration law firm with the intention of helping our clients best navigate the complexities of legal immigration. We invite anyone who wants to learn more about the immigration process, or about the passage of this new law in particular, to contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you.