The US Supreme Court on Friday allowed a controversial immigration rule to take effect in every state pending the outcome of litigation.
The Immigration and Nationality Act renders inadmissible any noncitizen who “is likely at any time to become a public charge.” For the last 20 years, immigration officers were not to consider non-cash public benefits in deciding whether a noncitizen met that definition.
In August the Department of Homeland Security issued a new regulation, which defines a “public charge” as “an alien who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36 months (such that, for instance, receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months).”
The court had already allowed enforcement of the rule in all states besides Illinois, where separate litigation is pending, and Friday’s decision will also allow enforcement in Illinois.
The White House released a statement on Saturday, saying that they are “gratified by the Friday ruling that will protect hardworking American taxpayers, safeguard welfare programs for truly needy Americans, reduce the Federal deficit, and re-establish the fundamental legal principle that newcomers to our society should be financially self-reliant and not dependent on the largess of United States taxpayers.”