The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Trump administration to implement new rules designed to deny U.S. residency or admission to immigrants seen as a risk of becoming “public charges.” The justices, on a 5-4 vote, granted the administration’s request to lift an injunction imposed by a district judge in New York that blocked the policy, which was criticized as a “wealth test” to keep out non-white immigrants. The new rules will make it easier to screen out green card applicants because they have or might require government assistance. All four of the court’s liberal justices opposed the action. The rules establish new criteria for who can be deemed dependent on the U.S. government for benefits—such as Medicaid, food stamps, or housing assistance—and thus denied green cards and a path to U.S. citizenship.
The criteria include “positive” and “negative” factors for immigration officials to decide on green card applications; the negative factors include whether a person is unemployed or not fluent in English. Legal U.S. immigrants who use public benefits, have in the past, or are considered likely to eventually require benefits, would be suspect in the new policy.