States to Defend Public Charge Rule?

Press Releases

December 23, 2021

IRLI urges Supreme Court to disallow collusive lawsuits

WASHINGTON—On Monday, the Immigration Reform Institute (IRLI) filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the United States Supreme Court urging the Court to allow a group of states to intervene in lawsuits against the public charge rule. The states’ purpose in intervening is to defend the rule, which the Biden administration refuses to defend.

As soon as the Trump administration enacted the public charge rule, which denies green cards to aliens likely to depend on public assistance, the activist-driven lawsuits began. A number of federal district courts around the country enjoined the rule, but the Supreme Court, as IRLI urged in a number of friend-of-the-court briefs, signaled its dim view of the merits of these lawsuits by suspending these injunctions pending appeal.

Now the administration, by surrendering in these lawsuits, hopes to get rid of the public charge rule by court order. Then it will not have to explain in a rulemaking rescinding the rule why it thinks admitting immigrants who depend on public assistance is good for America—even though Congress, which passed the statute barring public charges, disagrees.

In its brief, IRLI points out that America has always sought self-sufficiency, not public dependence, in those who would immigrate here, that the states have a clear financial interest in not giving their public resources to welfare-dependent aliens, and that they sought to step in as soon as the administration announced it would not defend their and the nation’s interests. Since the administration and the plaintiffs in these lawsuits are now on the same side, IRLI recommends either that the cases be dismissed as not involving any real controversy between the parties or that the states be allowed to intervene to defend their forsaken interests.

“From Colonial times onwards, America has insisted that settlers and immigrants be self-sufficient, not taxpayer-dependent,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “This rule has served our nation well, but in recent decades it hasn’t been enforced, to the point where immigrant households now depend on public assistance more than native households do. We decry the administration’s attempt to achieve its policy goals—and negate the public charge statute passed by Congress—under cover of these collusive lawsuits, and hope the Supreme Could does not stand for it.”

The case is State of Arizona v. City and County of San Francisco, No. 20-1775 (Supreme Court).

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