The politics of the Trump era made immigrants who enjoy a wide range of public benefits ineligible for legal status in the United States.
The Biden administration has announced it will not defend uncompromising Trump-era politics which made immigrants who receive various public benefits in the United States, including food stamps, ineligible for permanent legal status.
In one declaration On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security said it had decided that continuing to defend the so-called public charge rule “is neither in the public interest nor in an efficient use of limited government resources.”
“In accordance with this decision, the Ministry of Justice will no longer pursue the appellate review of judicial decisions annulling or prohibiting the application of the 2019 rule,” he said.
The U.S. Supreme Court also said on Tuesday that it would not weigh in on the legality of a controversial policy after an agreement was reached between President Joe Biden’s administration and states and groups challenging it.
The higher court in January had beside with former US President Donald Trump on the rule, but said last month he would challenge it.
US federal law for decades has required those seeking permanent residence or legal status to prove that they will not become a “public office” – or dependent on the state.
Trump, who pursued a radical anti-immigration policy, replaced guidelines that had been in place since 1999 to broaden the definition of what constituted public office.
Under the tighter restrictions, immigrants who had received non-cash benefits, including Medicaid, subsidized health insurance or food stamps, could be denied a green card.
Immigrant rights advocates viewed the rule as a “test of wealth,” while public health experts said it would mean poorer health outcomes and increased costs, as low-income migrants income would choose between needed services and their attempt to stay legally in the country.
“Today’s announcement about ending the Trump rule on public charges is a crucial step back from deeply racist politics,” Jackie Vimo, policy analyst for the National Immigration Law Center, tweeted Tuesday.
In its statement, the Department of Homeland Security said that once the rule’s invalidation is final, the policy that was in place before Trump’s decision in 2019 would again apply.
This means that immigrants who receive Medicaid, social housing or food stamps will be eligible, as would anyone who receives medical treatment or prevention related to COVID-19.
Since taking office in January, Biden has sought to overturn several of his predecessor’s immigration rules. Experts said he was facing many challenges, however, and the process of overturning Trump’s policies could take a long time.