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Supreme Court will weigh if Republican AGs can defend Trump-era immigration rule

The Hill logo The Hill 10/29/2021 John Kruzel
Supreme Court will weigh if Republican AGs can defend Trump-era immigration rule © Greg Nash Supreme Court will weigh if Republican AGs can defend Trump-era immigration rule

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider whether a group of Republican attorneys general can step in to defend a Trump-era immigration rule that the Biden administration abandoned.

The case concerns an effort by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) and several others to revive former President Trump's "public charge" rule.

The Biden administration in March formally rescinded the rule, which tightened restrictions on poorer immigrants seeking U.S. residency. And in a sharp break with the Trump administration's legal position, Biden's Department of Justice declined to defend the rule in court.

In June, Brnovich and Republican attorneys general from a dozen states, from Alabama to Missouri to Texas, asked the Supreme Court to review a lower appeals court ruling denying the states a chance to advance the Trump administration's legal position.

The justices in an unsigned order Friday agreed to consider whether the interested states "should be permitted to intervene to defend a rule when the United States ceases to defend" it.

The case does not deal directly with the legality of the public charge rule or whether the Biden administration followed proper procedure in rescinding it, and oral arguments have not yet been scheduled.

Enacted in 2019, Trump's public charge rule imposed stricter financial requirements on would-be immigrants to the U.S. The rule directed federal immigration authorities to decline green cards and visas to applicants who were likely to become reliant on public aid - and expanded the universe of immigrants who fell into that category.

The policy sparked a number of legal challenges that were in various stages of litigation when Biden took the White House after pledging to roll back Trump's hardline immigration stance if elected.

After the Biden administration made clear it would not defend Trump's expansive public charge rule, a dozen GOP state attorneys general stepped forward in an effort to do so.

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