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Trump asks Supreme Court to lift injunction so it can start barring immigrants who rely on welfare

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Trump administration asks Supreme Court to lift injunction so it can start barring legal status to more immigrants who rely on welfare

The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court Monday to lift an injunction so it could start barring immigrants who need government assistance from achieving legal status. 

In August, the administration changed a so-called ‘public charge’ rule, which would require immigrants to prove that they are unlikely to ever need public assistance as they seek green cards or another change in legal status. 

During the rollout of the rule, acting Deputy Director of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli memorably revised the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty: ‘Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,’ he said during an interview on NPR.  

President Trump’s administration is trying to change the definition of ‘public charge’ to make it more difficult for immigrants who have taken public assistance to obtain green cards 

The rule soon became entangled in the courts. 

A New York judge issued a nationwide injunction in October blocking the rule. 

Last week, a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit kept in place that injunction. 

While two similar injunctions were lifted by federal appeals courts in Virginia and California last month, the New York one still applies nationwide.

On Monday night, Solicitor General Noel Francisco encouraged the Supreme Court to lift the injunction as the rule goes through the appeals process. 

At issue is whether the Trump administration can broaden the definition of who’s a ‘public charge.’ 

The new rule defines it as an immigrant who’s received at least one public benefit – including Medicaid or food stamps – for more than 12 months within a three-year period. 

 A 1996 regulation defines a ‘public charge’ as someone primarily dependent from government assistance, as it makes up more than half of an individual’s income. 

The 2019 ‘public charge’ rule is in line with the Trump administration’s hardline approach to immigration, which has included calls for the construction of a southern border wall, a so-called Muslim ban and tightening flows of legal immigration into the U.S. 

Cuccinelli became the poster child for the ‘public charge’ rule on the heels of the administration’s announcement. 

‘Self-sufficiency is a central part of America’s proud heritage and we proudly stand behind that tradition,’ he argued in August on CNN. 


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