The United States Supreme Court declined to review a lawsuit filed by Texas and 13 other states that sought to revive the Trump administration’s “public indictment”.
The problem, according to The Texas Tribune, centers on the Trump administration’s decision to extend the definition of “public indictment” to non-citizens who depend on or receive public benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps and housing allowances.
The public fee regime, according to CNN, dates back to the Immigration Act of 1882. The federal legislature at the time wanted to ensure that immigrants to the United States would be able to fend for themselves and not burden the government net.
While the rule has been around for over a century, the Trump administration has interpreted it more strictly. Former director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, Kevin Cuccinelli, caused some controversy when he reworked the iconic poem about the Statue of Liberty, saying, “Give me your tired ones and your poor who can stand on their own and won’t become ones public indictment. “
According to the Trump administration’s documented “public indictment”, legal immigrants could not have obtained permanent residence or citizenship if they had, or were likely to have, various types of government assistance.
However, the public fee rule was quickly challenged in court and later declared invalid.
A 2013 picture of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Image via Wikimedia Commons / User: Alice Linahan Voices Empower. (CCA-BY-2.0).
Even so, the Trump administration filed numerous lawsuits and appeals to revive the rule. In March of this year, however, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would no longer defend the policy in court under President Joe Biden.
“The 2019 public fee rule was not in line with our nation’s values. It has punished those who have access to health care and other government services available to them, ”Minister of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
The sudden reversal of policy prompted Texas and 13 other states to file a lawsuit with the 7th Circuit asking the court to revive and uphold the public indictment rule.
In the lawsuit, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton alleged that the Biden government had repealed the rule in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.
Paxton went on to claim that without the public fee rule, “Medicaid budgets and other vital services will explode and be sparsely distributed in Texas, costing taxpayers millions more and reducing the quality of the services we can provide.”
The Supreme Court will not allow Texas to immediately defend Trump-era immigration rule
The US Supreme Court dismisses a Texas-led lawsuit to protect Trump’s immigration policy