WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court gave the go-ahead on Monday for one of President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies, allowing his administration to implement a rule denying legal permanent residency to certain immigrants deemed likely to require government assistance in the future.
The justices, on a 5-4 vote, granted the administration’s request to lift a lower court’s injunction that had blocked the so-called public charge policy, which has been criticized by immigrant rights advocates as a “wealth test” that would disproportionately keep out non-white immigrants.
The court’s five conservative justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, carried the day. The court’s four liberal justices said they would have denied the administration’s request to put the injunction on hold. The action was announced even as Roberts sat as the presiding officer in Trump’s impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.
Lawsuits aiming to block the policy were filed against the administration by the states of New York, Connecticut and Vermont as well as by New York City and several nonprofit organizations.
In imposing an injunction blocking implementation of the rule, U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan on Oct. 11 called the policy “repugnant to the American Dream” and a “policy of exclusion in search of a justification.”
The administration had asked the high court to let the rule go into effect even before the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules on Trump’s appeal of Daniels’ injunction against the rule. The 2nd Circuit is considering the matter on an expedited basis, with legal papers to be submitted by Feb. 14 and arguments to be held soon afterward.
(Reporting by Kristina Cooke, Lawrence Hurley, Jonathan Stempel, and Andrew Chung; editing by Will Dunham)