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14 GOP-led states file long-shot bid with SCOTUS to defend Trump-era ‘public charge’ rule

Texas and 13 other Republican-led states have filed a long shot bid with the Supreme Court asking the justices to allow the states to defend a controversial Trump-era rule that makes it more difficult for immigrants to obtain legal status if they use certain public benefits, such as Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers.

The so-called “public charge” rule is currently blocked while the Biden administration completes a review process and decides what the new regulation will be.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court agreed to dismiss a pending challenge to the rule at the request of the Biden administration because the government changed its position in the case after the election.

Now Texas wants to intervene and defend the rule, even though the underlying cases have been dismissed.

“The States’ interests in this matter were adequately represented by the United States during the previous administration,” Paxton told the justices. “But on March 9, and without notice to the States or other interested parties, the Biden Administration agreed to voluntarily dismiss its appeal in every pending challenge to the Rule.”

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals has previously denied Paxton’s request.

The Trump rule was issued in 2019 and had been in effect in most states nationwide until earlier this year.

The “public charge” provision dates back at least to the Immigration Act of 1882. Federal lawmakers at the time wanted to make sure that immigrants would be able to take care of themselves and not end up being a public burden.

Under current regulations put in place in 1996, the term is defined as someone who is “primarily dependent” on government assistance, meaning it supplies more than half their income.

But it only counted cash benefits, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Supplemental Security Income from Social Security. The Trump administration’s rule widened the definition of who is expected to be dependent on the government by including more benefit programs.

Article Topic Follows: National Politics

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