WASHINGTON – Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday, in a tumultuous debate over whether Republican-led states can join to defend Trump-era immigration policy that the Biden administration has abandoned. The policy, a revision of the “public charge” rule, imposes a new wealth test on green card applicants.
Some judges questioned the Biden administration’s legal moves, finding them too aggressive, invisible and too clever.
“It was really a license for collusion,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr said of the administration’s strategy, which included accepting the court’s ruling against the policy and opposing the intervention attempt. interventions by the states to argue in favor of this policy.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. gave a satirical account of what happened.
“I congratulate anyone in the Justice Department or law enforcement who came up with this strategy and was able to execute it with military precision,” he said, adding, “I don’t know of precedent that an incoming administration has done anything quite like this. ”
Other judges argued that new presidential administration practices change course and that, in any event, states are seeking to interfere in a wrongful court.
Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh said, “It’s very much not unheard of,” for the government to accept in an adverse ruling invalidating a rule. It’s not entirely unheard of.”
Justice Elena Kagan questions the complex litigation strategy pursued by states seeking to reinstate Trump administration policy. It was a “fourfold blow to the bank,” she said, one that appears to include trying to intervene in the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, in hopes of annulment. judgment in a federal trial court in Illinois. that states can file new lawsuits in federal court in Washington.
Helen H. Hong, an attorney for Democratic-led states and localities that have challenged the policy from the outset, said “there is nothing Track 9 can do to reinstate the rule. ”
The policy mentioned in the case modified the “public charge” ruleallows officials to deny permanent legal status, also known as green cards, to potential immigrants in need of public assistance. Previously, only substantial and sustainable monetary assistance or permanent institutionalization were included, and less than 1 percent of applicants were disqualified for public fees.
The Trump administration’s revised rule expanded the criteria to include “noncash benefits that cover basic needs such as housing or food” used in any 12 months out of a 36-month period. . Using two types of benefits in one month counts as two months, etc.
This policy has been challenged in lawsuits across the country, and several federal judges have blocked it. But in January 2020, by a vote of 5 to 4, the Supreme Court policy recovery while the appeal is in progress.
After President Biden took office last year, his administration decided not to defend the policy in court. At the administration’s request, the Supreme Court dismissed a separate appeal reached by the justices, and the lower federal courts took similar actions.
Based on a nationwide ruling against the policy from a federal court in Illinois and failure to follow administrative law procedures, the administration subsequently revoked the policy. (It already has the word start the process to release its own version.)
Critics call the administration’s action a legal game to ensure that there is no final verdict on whether the old policy is legal.
Mark Brnovich, Arizona’s attorney general, urged the judges to settle what he called “an unprecedented legal maneuver,” adding that “the rule has saved states a total of more than a billion dollars.” dollars per year.”
But Brian H. Fletcher, an attorney for the federal government, said only a small number of people have been denied green cards under the policy. “In the year that the 2019 rule went into effect,” he said, “we know that it only affected about 5 of the roughly 50,000 state adjustment applications it was applied to, or about one percent.” of 1 percent . ”
Arguments in the case, Arizona v City and County of San Francisco, no. 20-1775, according to the Supreme Court Notice last week that it will decide whether the Biden administration can end a Trump-era immigration program that forces asylum seekers to come to the southwestern border to await approval from Mexico.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/23/us/politics/supreme-court-public-charge-rule.html Supreme Court weighs whether states can protect Trump’s immigration policies