WASHINGTON — The United States Supreme Court today declined to consider litigation (Texas, et al. v. Cook County, IL, et al.) by Texas and other states concerning the Trump Administration’s “public charge” immigration regulations. Today’s ruling ends a bid to revisit a 2020 ruling by a federal trial court in Illinois invalidating (“vacating”) Trump Administration public charge regulations as unlawful. Reacting to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Protecting Immigrant Families coalition issued the following statement by its director, Adriana Cadena:
“The Supreme Court made the right call today, rejecting a politically-motivated effort to reopen litigation on an unlawful Trump policy that undermined the nation’s health. The Biden public charge regulation issued in September took effect December 23rd, as scheduled. Eligible people in immigrant families can use safety net programs without public charge concerns.”
The Trump public charge policy put immigration applications at risk if lawfully-present immigrants used specific health, housing, or nutrition programs. The Texas petition challenges a federal trial court’s 2020 decision to vacate the Trump policy as unlawful.
In March 2021, the Biden Administration reversed the Trump policy, reverting to Clinton-era public charge guidance. The Biden Administration then replaced that guidance with a new public charge rule finalized in September.
In issuing the final rule, the Biden administration took the proper notice and comment steps required by the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs the process by which federal agencies make or change regulations. The process to arrive at this final public charge regulation began in August 2021 with an advance notice of proposed rulemaking that included a 60-day public comment period. It was followed in February 2022 with a final regulatory proposal also with a 60-day comment period. In addition to both comment periods, DHS invited input through a series of public listening sessions in late 2021.
The Biden public charge regulation tookeffect on December 23, 2022. The Texas petition that was the subject of today’s procedural decision by the Supreme Court did not challenge the Biden Administration’s 2022 public charge regulation.
Last Thursday, January 5, Texas filed a separate lawsuit challenging the Biden administration’s final public charge rule that took effect on December 23, 2022. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The filing of this new suit does not change immigration policy. The Biden public charge rule is still in effect and immigrants and their family members can use health care, nutrition, housing and other public benefits that are not cash assistance for income maintenance or long term institutionalization at government expense without fear of immigration consequences.