U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court allows US to implement rule curbing green cards based on likely public assistance

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The U.S. Supreme Court allowed on Monday the implementation of the “public charge” rule that makes it easier for the government to deny visas and green cards to immigrants who receive or are likely to receive public assistance.

The Supreme Court lifted a nationwide injunction blocking implementation of the rule that had been upheld by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New York. The court’s four conservative justices would have kept the injunction in place during appeals.

The Supreme Court’s action allows the government to pursue its new policy everywhere except Illinois, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch said in a concurrence joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.

Gorsuch used his opinion to decry nationwide injunctions that apply beyond the parties to the case. The problems were apparent in litigation over the public-charge rule, which resulted in differing decisions on injunctions in various parts of the country, he said.

“The routine issuance of universal injunctions is patently unworkable, sowing chaos for litigants, the government, courts, and all those affected by these conflicting decisions,” Gorsuch wrote.

“Rather than spending their time methodically developing arguments and evidence in cases limited to the parties at hand, both sides have been forced to rush from one preliminary injunction hearing to another, leaping from one emergency stay application to the next, each with potentially nationwide stakes, and all based on expedited briefing and little opportunity for the adversarial testing of evidence.”

Gorsuch said it is increasingly apparent that the Supreme Court must at some point confront the objections to nationwide injunctions.

Reuters reporter Lawrence Hurley tweeted news of the Supreme Court’s action and covered the story here. The Washington Post also has coverage.

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