SCOTUS Greenlights New Immigration Rule That Could Impact Cities and Counties

In a 5-4 decision Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to move forward with new immigration rules that could discourage immigrants from seeking public assistance.

The administration’s new policy expands the definition of “public charge,” a legal term used to describe immigrants who are primarily dependent on government assistance. Under U.S. law, these individuals can be denied visas, green cards, or permanent residency.

Historically, the term only applied to those receiving more significant levels of assistance. Under the policy change, immigrants receiving SNAP benefits or those on Medicaid fall under this category.

The new rule prompted lawsuits by San Francisco and Santa Clara County. The governments warned that by discouraging immigrants from seeking medical or nutritive assistance, the federal government would create a health crisis directly affecting cities and counties.

“As a result, the Final Rule will worsen the health and well-being of the Counties’ residents, increase risks to public health, undermine the Counties’ health and safety-net systems, and inflict significant financial harm on the Counties,” their lawsuit stated.

Read more about Monday’s ruling here