Passing by the narrowest of margins, the US Supreme court moved ahead with a policy to deny US Immigrants having limited income residency or even entry to the US. The idea is based on restricting the use of public-assistance programs, which residents of the nation use or might use in future.
Factually, this makes it even easier for the administration to deny settling in the US. The court, in a written order on Monday, permitted the administration to start implementing the rules for now. Consequently, the passage of law also meant that federal court order which blocked the policy has been completely sidelined.
Announced last August by the Department of Homeland Security, the rule takes “public charge” under the US Immigration law. Meaning if an immigrant makes use of a public assistance program, such as housing assistance, food stamps or Medicaid – or an officer presumes that he/she might use in future – the person could be barred from obtaining green card.
A divided Supreme Court on a 5-to-4 vote decided in favor of the policy. But to those seeking green card in the US, one vote could prove too many. Presently, as it looks, the rules have the power to change the narrative regarding who are and who are not allowed in the US.
The White House though, has touted the court’s order as a “massive win for American taxpayers, American workers and the American Constitution. This decision allows the government to implement regulations effectuating longstanding federal law that newcomers to this country must be financially self-sufficient.”
Foreigners seeking residence in the US have to anyway prove that they have enough financial resources to sustain and not solely rely on government services. And even before “public charge” was introduced, the government had maintained hard-nosed stance against immigrants .
To determine if an immigrant is fit enough to stay in the US, immigration officers will test the candidate on a number of factors. This includes their English-speaking ability, their educational qualification, their health, and whether their income is less than 125 per cent of the federal poverty level.
“Never before have we said, you have to be comfortably middle class before you come to America,” said Doug Rand, co-founder of Boundless Immigration who advised on immigration policy during the Obama administration. “That’s what we’re saying now,” he added.
Presently, a lot of facilities, including Medicaid, aren’t available for US immigrants. And cannot be used unless residents have held the green card for at least five years. Although, Supreme Court’s ruling isn’t the last saying in the matter, it still gives Trump administration an upper hand in further restricting the US bound immigrants.