Supreme Court Rejects GOP Bid to Revive Trump’s ‘Public Charge’ Rule

April 26, 2021 Updated: April 26, 2021

The Supreme Court on April 26 declined to take up a motion filed by Republican state attorneys general to resurrect former President Donald Trump’s “public charge” immigration rule, which enabled new restrictions on immigrants who receive some form of government aid.

The high court, in its order (pdf), left open the possibility for the attorneys general to try again at a later time, saying that the states can raise arguments before lower courts and return to the Supreme Court if needed.

President Joe Biden’s administration formally rescinded the Trump-era rule last month, sparking the lawsuit.

The court noted that on March 15, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) relied on a lower court’s “now-effective judgment to remove the challenged rule from the Code of Federal Regulations without going through notice and comment rulemaking” and that after “DHS had voluntarily dismissed its appeal, a group of States sought leave to intervene,” which was denied.

The states—led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton—then sought relief in the courts and argued that DHS prevented enforcement of the rule and insulated the lower court decision. Specifically, the officials earlier this year tried to intervene in a case in Illinois, where a district court judge had vacated the rule U.S.-wide, coming after the Biden administration had dropped its appeal of the ruling, which essentially allowed the “public charge” rule to expire.

“The States also contend that DHS has rescinded the rule without following the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act,” according to the Supreme Court’s unsigned order. “We deny the application, without prejudice to the States raising these and other arguments before the District Court, whether in a motion for intervention or otherwise.”

In March, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that when the 2019 rule was rescinded, it “closed the book on the public charge rule.”

Mayorkas said it would “have placed undue burdens on American families wishing to sponsor individuals lawfully immigrating to the U.S.,” adding that it’s part of a plan to implement reforms “that improve our immigration system and reduce unnecessary barriers to legal immigration.”

Biden’s move to rescind the rule—among other rules, including halting construction of the U.S.–Mexico border wall and eliminating the “remain in Mexico” policy—has drawn sharp criticism from Republicans. They have argued that the orders and White House messaging on immigration has triggered a surge in illegal immigrants and created a humanitarian crisis.

Biden and other top administration officials have said they’re attempting to create more humane immigration policies and that Trump left them with a broken system.

The Texas Attorney General’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

The case is Texas, et al. v. Cook County, Ill., et al.