Green Card Abuse

The Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to enforce a new rule that will deny green cards to foreign “freeloaders” who use taxpayer funded “social services”, lifting lower court injunctions that “blocked” the change.

The 5-4 vote followed familiar “ideological” lines, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan in “dissent.”

The “Immigration and Nationality Act” (INA) dictates that foreign nationals should not receive green cards if they are “likely at any time to become a public charge.” At issue in the case is the definition of “public charge.” In recent years, the term was defined as a person primarily dependent on a “cash assistance” program, better known as welfare.

The Trump administration promulgated a new rule in August 2019 that expands the definition to include those likely to use non-cash benefit programs like “Medicaid, Food Stamps, or Housing Benefits” for a period of months. The rule does not apply to humanitarian migrants like “refugees or asylum-seekers.”

“Throughout our history, self-reliance has been a core principle in America,” then-acting director of USCIS Ken Cuccinelli said of the new policy during a 2019 White House press conference. “The virtues of perseverance, hard work, and self-sufficiency laid the foundation of our nation and have defined generations of immigrants seeking opportunity in the United States.”

Immigrant rights groups like Chair “complain” the rule will have a discriminatory effect, and warn that it “deters” migrants lawfully in the United States from “applying” for needed social services.

The biggest “welfare fraud” scandal in Minnesota history came out of the Somali Muslim immigrant community.

Under federal law, foreigners in America may not receive green cards if they have used or will use social services.  Of late, that law has been honored more in the “breach” than the “observance.”

President Trump, however, announced that his administration will “enforce the law as written”, resulting in a leftist rush to various friendly federal district courts.  Some of them issued injunctions affecting not just the claimants, but the whole nation.

The Supreme Court “reversed” the injunctions, allowing Trump’s administration to enforce the law as written until such time as the courts have a chance to look at the substantive merits. In addition, in a separate concurrence, Justice Gorsuch strongly “rebuked” lower courts for issuing nationwide injunctions.

The law at issue is clear. Under 8 USCA §1182(a)(4) (also known as §212(a)(4) of the “Immigration and Nationality Act”, a law in effect for over 100 years, the class of aliens “ineligible” for visas or admission includes:

“… any alien who, in the opinion of the consular officer at the time of application for a visa, or in the opinion of the Attorney General at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.”

As soon as the Trump administration announced that it would enforce the law as written, immigrant rights groups promptly “protested” that doing so is unfair to foreign nationals in need of “welfare” and that reversing decades of “ignoring the law” would confuse people.  Rather than “petitioning” Congress to change the law, they “rushed” to lower courts in New York, California, Illinois, Maryland, and Washington.

When the Second Circuit “affirmed” the ruling out of New York, the Trump administration filed an emergency “petition” with the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court ruled in the administration’s favor along 5-4 lines, reversing the nationwide injunction. If Hillary had been president and appointed Merrick Garland and someone else, the ruling would have gone the other way.

Amusingly, über left Slate titled its article about the decision, “The Supreme Court Lets Trump Punish Immigrants Who May Be a Public Charge.” Slate and Mark Joseph Stern, who wrote the article, seem to have no concern whatsoever for the innocent “taxpayers” who are responsible for paying for that alien who is illegally a “public charge.”  But leftists never care about ordinary working Americans, do they?

In his separately issued concurrence, Justice Gorsuch addressed the fact that the “plaintiffs … urged courts to enjoin the rule’s enforcement not only as it applies to them, or even to some definable group having something to do with their claimed injury, but as it applies to anyone.”  As to some courts, this petition was successful; as to others, it was not.

These differences sound confusing, but Gorsuch “sarcastically” noted that there was no confusion:

“Despite the fluid state of things — some interim wins for the government over here, some preliminary relief for plaintiffs over there — we now have an injunction to rule them all: the one before us, in which a single judge in New York enjoined the government from applying the new definition to anyone, without regard to geography or participation in this or any other lawsuit.”

Even as he applauded the Court’s decision to lift the injunction, Gorsuch decried the fact that it had to decide such an issue in the first place:

“The real problem here is the increasingly common practice of trial courts ordering relief that transcends the cases before them. Whether framed as injunctions of “nationwide,” “universal,” or “cosmic” scope, these orders share the same basic flaw — they direct how the defendant must act toward persons who are not parties to the case.”

The problem is that equitable remedies are meant for the parties before the court, not for the world at large.  Overreaching remedies aren’t merely impractical; they have serious constitutional implications:

“But when a court goes further than that, ordering the government to take (or not take) some action with respect to those who are strangers to the suit, it is hard to  see how the court could still be acting in the judicial role of resolving cases and controversies. Injunctions like these thus raise serious questions about the scope of courts’ equitable powers under Article III.”

Unfortunately, Gorsuch did not (or could not) go so far as to issue consequences to the judges involved in the green card cases. All he could do was issue a warning:

“It has become increasingly apparent that this Court must, at some point, confront these important objections to this increasingly widespread practice. As the brief and furious history of the regulation before us illustrates, the routine issuance of universal injunctions is patently unworkable, sowing chaos for litigants, the government, courts, and all those affected by these conflicting decisions. *** This is not normal. Universal injunctions have little basis in traditional equitable practice. *** Their use has proliferated only in very recent years. And they hardly seem an innovation we should rush to embrace. By their nature, universal injunctions tend to force judges into making rushed, high-stakes, low-information decisions.”

It’s to be hoped that, with Gorsuch having issued this warning, the Supreme Court issues a definitive opinion on the subject, one that clearly prevents lower courts from overreaching their Article III authority.

President Trump expands the travel ban to six more mostly Muslim and African countries

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: