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GOP-Led States Rejected by Supreme Court on Immigrant Wealth Tests

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 1/9/2023 Greg Stohr

(Bloomberg) -- The US Supreme Court turned away 14 Republican state attorneys general who sought to reinstate a Trump-era immigrant wealth test that screened out green card applicants seen as being at risk of becoming dependent on government benefits.

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The justices without comment left in place a federal appeals court decision that said the states couldn’t intervene after President Joe Biden’s administration dropped the federal government’s defense of the so-called public charge rule. 

The appeal had limited practical importance because the administration formally replaced the Trump rule with a more lenient standard in December. Texas has sued to challenge that step, saying it conflicts with a federal immigration statute.

The Supreme Court heard arguments on the subject last term but eventually dropped the case, indicating it had too many complexities to let the justices reach the central issues. As part of that dismissal, Chief Justice John Roberts gently chided President Joe Biden’s administration for some of its legal maneuvering in the multifaceted fight.

In the latest case, then-President Donald Trump’s administration appealed after a federal trial judge found the public-charge rule unlawful. After Biden took office, his Biden administration dropped the appeal and then used the trial judge’s decision as grounds to rescind the Trump rule without going through the notice-and-comment procedures normally required when a government agency repeals a regulation.

The latest case is Texas v. Cook County, 22-234.  

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