The Trump administration’s ‘public charge’ rule that they have been pushing has been the source of controversy and distaste for a while, especially as it is a rule during pandemic only meant to make things harder for the immigrants. On this Wednesday, 29th July, a federal judge blocked the administration from carrying out the implementation of the rule. It provided a source of hope for a lot of people.
It must be noted that New York, New York City, Connecticut, and Vermont had already appealed to the Supreme court to block the public charge rule but was denied the request. According to the Supreme court, even as legal challenges are ongoing, the rule could be implemented across the nation. This happened twice, after which the court
suggested it might be better to go into the lower court with this request, which the states paid attention to.
What Is The Public Charge Rule?
The Public Charge rule is essentially a rule where if immigrants have been granted public benefits such as housing vouchers, Medicaid, and food stamps, it becomes much more difficult for them to obtain legal status. This means the people affected by this rule are mostly people who have been trying to remain in the United States or planning to come here and need a green card to do so.
The Immigration Act of 1882 had the public charge provision, the purpose of which was to make sure immigrants could provide for themselves without being a burden on the public. When another regulation was placed in 1996, the policy stated a situation where these people were dependent on the government to provide for them, unless they could with their own income.
However, this only meant cash benefits previously. The administration tried to include other benefits under it, such as health aid, which could totally change what public charge meant in the first place.
In a 36 month period, if an immigrant used public benefits for more than 12 months, they’re counted under it. The benefit also has a separate count, so just by using two benefits in a month, it would be thought of as two months.
Why Did Federal Judge Block This Rule?
Amidst COVID-19, the judge, George Daniels, believes this rule could only lead to the worsening of the pandemic. If immigrants stop seeking health services in fear of being denied a green card, later on, they become one more count among many who could infect another person with the virus tomorrow.
As it is the case with politics, it’s likely that the issue would be again taken to the Supreme court, even though it has already been through trial twice on there.
It’s highly unlikely that the Trump administration would back down because the rule has been blocked by the federal judge. The chances of the matter going straight back to the Supreme court is high, and it remains to be seen which side would win in the end.