SCOTUS Makes Announcement That Conservatives Have Waited For

In a case led by Republican attorneys general, the U.S. Supreme Court heard last week oral arguments on preserving a Trump-era regulatory measure aimed at reducing the number of migrants who can receive taxpayer benefits.

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After the Biden administration made the decision to not defend the rule legally, the Republican AGs stepped in to resolve the issue. Instead, the GOP AGs have attempted to replace the rule with one that is far less restrictive.

“More than a dozen Republican attorneys general, led by Arizona’s Mark Brnovich, have sought to defend the 2019 public charge rule, which broadened the definition of ‘public charge’ to include an immigrant who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months within a 36-month period — and included a substantial number of benefits,” reported Fox News on Saturday.

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According to the outlet:

The “public charge” consideration is used when a legal immigrant on a temporary visa seeks permanent legal status, and officials consider whether the immigrant is likely to be reliant on welfare.

Those benefits included in the 2019 rule included Supplemental Security Income (SSI), cash assistance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), as well as most forms of Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps.

The Biden administration has since declared the rule not to be in line with the values of the United States and declined to defend it against legal challenges and dropped it. It had previously been blocked from going into effect by a number of appeals courts.

Attorneys general from the Republican party has asked the Supreme Court to allow them to enforce a Trump-era rule. As Brnovich noted in an interview with Fox News, the decision by the Biden administration to abandon the legal defense of the rule in several lower courts was unprecedented. He expressed confidence that the oral argument portion of the case will go well.

“I am happy with our briefing and happy with what happened today in the courtroom,” he said. “I think what was made crystal clear, even from the Biden administration, is that what they did by withdrawing the public charge rule and their sneaky litigation strategy was unprecedented, and I think even the left of center justices recognized that the Department of Justice was doing something unprecedented.”

Brnovich followed up by accusing Biden’s administration of “strategic surrender” and collusion with the plaintiffs in the cases.

According to Reuters, conservative and liberal justices both asked why the administration rescinded the rule in this manner rather than through a normal rulemaking process, raising the prospect that the White House had once again violated the Administrative Procedures Act when it sought to dismantle all of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and border enforcement measures.

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In a prior decision, the high court held that the administration violated the act when Biden and later Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security, intervened to rescind Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy.

According to Reuters, some justices, including Brett Kavanaugh, also noted that administrations often cease defending policies they disagree with during arguments.

“I hope the court, I think the court will do the right thing, and allow us to intervene in the case and fully defend the public charge rule,” Brnovich told Steve Doocy on Fox News.

Additionally, the network reported:

Meanwhile, the Biden administration announced last week its own public charge rule which would roll back many of the additional benefits that the Trump administration wished to consider. Under the new rule by the Biden administration, SSI, TANF, state, tribal and local cash assistance for income maintenance and “long-term institutionalization at government expense” would still all be considered when officials make a public charge determination.

However, the administration proposes ignoring a range of other taxpayer-funded benefits, which foreign nationals would be able to receive without it ever being held against them on green card applications. Those include SNAP/food stamps, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), most Medicaid benefits, housing benefits and transportation vouchers.

This week also brought other border news.

Ranchers in Texas rejected a federal government offer to cover property damage caused by illegal immigration and drug smuggling, thinking that the aid will be tied to strings and not help solve the problems at the border.

Skepticism surrounds a proposed project by the Department of Agriculture to compensate landowners across Texas for losses they suffered due to a surge of trespassers crossing over the border to enter the state from north of the border. President Biden is also being pressed to secure the border.

As part of the USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentive Program, farmers and ranchers can now submit claims for reimbursements for more than two dozen different types of expenses, including fencing repairs, livestock deaths, irrigation, and crop planting, until July 5. No information has been released about how much funding will be made available or how many people it expects to apply to the new program.

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There seems to be resistance among some of the intended beneficiaries.

“It looks good on paper. It looks good in the media,” declared rancher John Paul Schuster. “But in reality, it’s not servicing us right now.”

Several residents from Kinney and Val Verde counties on the southern Texas border spoke to reporters about their concerns with the program this week. Of the six, five will not apply for reimbursement either because they think it will require more work than it is worth, because they do not trust Washington, or because they have already made the repairs and cannot be reimbursed.