Monday, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the Trump administration to enforce new rules that would raise the bar for immigrants seeking citizenship while challenges in lower courts proceed. The rules apply a stricter “wealth test” to immigrants applying for green cards and give the government broader authority to reject those “likely to be a public charge,” meaning they use federal assistance programs like Medicaid.
BREAKING: On 5-4 vote, Supreme Court lets Trump administration start enforcing new immigrant wealth test, designed to screen out green card applicants seen as being at risk of becoming "public charges".— Greg Stohr (@GregStohr) January 27, 2020
Conservative Justices John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh voted in favor of allowing the new rules to be enforced, while Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan rejected the Trump administration’s request. White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said the ruling is “a massive win for the American taxpayers, American workers, and the American Constitution.”
The new rules consider immigrants “public charges” if they use government assistance for more than 12 months in a 36-month time frame or are seen as likely to do so. Assistance includes Medicaid, food stamps, public housing, and more.
Many people quickly pointed out that with these restrictions, themselves or their families could have never come to America.
When my mom’s parents came to the U.S. from Mexico, there was no similarly restrictive “immigrant wealth test,” just the belief that America, as the most diverse nation on earth, could provide our family with a better life.— Mike Levin (@MikeLevinCA) January 28, 2020
That’s what made America great in the first place. https://t.co/Jxo91d8jyR
Sadly, i would not have been allowed to stay in America, prior to 1966, under this wealth test. https://t.co/0NVwkUchlW— Al Cardenas (@AlCardenasFL_DC) January 27, 2020
My family and my husband’s family wouldn’t have made it to America under the new “immigrant wealth test.” Nice Supreme Court we’ve got here. https://t.co/pgYZHketLo— Lindsey Boylan (@LindseyBoylan) January 27, 2020
My parents and entire family came to the US with maybe a little over 5K? And every single one of my cousins are all in college and live a relatively if not entirety affluent life style, wealth test wouldn’t do shit for anyone except demote people from trying to better their life https://t.co/iKeR7ZwMXi— eug (@eugpol) January 28, 2020
This is awful—my family would not have been allowed in. They came from a refugee camp in Germany after surviving Auschwitz with almost nothing. I suspect this is true for many of our families. Asylum and immigration should not come with a wealth test. https://t.co/9iwt2KPTMH— erika meitner (@rikam99) January 27, 2020
Democratic presidential candidates voiced their displeasure at the decision and ensuing “wealth test.”
No family in search of a better life should be denied permanent residency because they don't meet Donald Trump's wealth test.— Joe Biden (Text Join to 30330) (@JoeBiden) January 28, 2020
The United States of America should be open and welcome to all — not just the wealthy. https://t.co/ocJREvqcQd
My father came to America at 17 without a nickel, speaking no English. He grew up to be the proudest American you ever saw. Trump's policy is disgraceful. It is not what America is about. We will defeat him and end his demonization of immigrants and the poor. https://t.co/MibtwOTzEL— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 27, 2020
We will put a stop to these shameful attacks on immigrants by the Trump administration. As President, I will pass comprehensive immigration reform. Immigrants don’t diminish America — they are America. https://t.co/VPFUTi1Dvg— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) January 28, 2020
The Trump admin's rule punishes immigrants by discouraging them from getting food, health care, or housing assistance, & makes it harder for them to become citizens. This decision makes the American Dream even tougher to achieve & enables the admin's cruel, xenophobic agenda. https://t.co/jNJNtqbXpp— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) January 27, 2020
Immigration is central to the American story.— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) January 27, 2020
We're at our best when we welcome and empower everyone to contribute their own chapters to our greater story. Not when we create barriers to opportunity. This isn't just wrong—it's hurting America’s future. https://t.co/q238YnT4WV
And Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that what makes America great is the dream that you can come here with very little and be able to create a life for yourself.
This is shameful. America shouldn’t have a wealth test for admission. It’s a place where millions of people are descendants of immigrants who came w nothing & made a life.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 27, 2020
The American Dream isn’t a private club with a cover charge - it’s the possibility of remaking your future. https://t.co/qKm7BuUhXI
People also pointed out the racism and bigotry that fueled the ruling.
We all know this wealth test is fundamentally about keeping Black and brown immigrants out of America. It's part of a broader white nationalist campaign to restrict all forms of immigration. And it's appalling. https://t.co/3AbCDVHZoJ— Leah Frances Greenberg (@Leahgreenb) January 27, 2020
This isn't about saving taxpayer dollars.— Raul M. Grijalva (@RepRaulGrijalva) January 27, 2020
It's about implementing President Trump's racist immigration attitudes, forcing immigrants to pass a wealth test, and punishing them for utilizing benefits they are legally entitled to. https://t.co/elVufWDzNt
A wealth test on immigrants is incredibly racist. I’m not trying to hear the bullshit y’all are throwing. I’m first generation American and it would’ve impacted my family— fredo 🦹🏽♂️ #ChiefsKingdom (@FredoDaGawd7) January 27, 2020
And one user pointed out the eerie coincidence that the ruling also fell on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
It's #HolocaustRemembranceDay— Melissa Boteach (@mboteach) January 27, 2020
And the Supreme Court just allowed the Trump admin to move forward w/a rule that served as primary grounds for excluding thousands of Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany in the 1930s.