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AG Derek Schmidt asks U.S. Supreme Court to allow states to defend ‘public charge’ immigration rule

Release Date: Jun 24, 2021

TOPEKA – (June 24, 2021) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has asked that the U.S. Supreme Court allow a group of states to defend a Trump Administration rule regarding immigration to the United States, after its defense in a pending lawsuit was abandoned by the Biden administration.

Federal law states that aliens are "inadmissible" if they are "likely at any time to become a public charge," meaning that to be admitted into the country, they must have the means to support themselves once they obtain proper documentation. This general ground of inadmissibility dates back to 1882. In 2019, the Trump administration adopted a rule more clearly defining this requirement. A group of states and localities, led by the City and County of San Francisco, challenged this Trump administration rule in court. A federal court issued an injunction blocking enforcement of the rule and the U.S. Department of Justice moved to defend the law during the Trump administration, with the U.S. Supreme Court agreeing to hear an appeal.

The Biden administration has taken steps to rescind the rule and has stopped defending it in court. Schmidt this week joined a group of 11 state attorneys general, led by Arizona, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to recognize the right of the states to intervene and defend the rule upon its abandonment by the Biden administration. The states are seeking U.S. Supreme Court review of a lower-court decision denying them the ability to defend the Trump-era rule.

The states argue that while a change in the executive branch comes with the privilege of changing federal rules, the practice previously involved giving other interested parties the courtesy of commenting on the changes or assuming the federal government’s position in any legal proceedings to defend the rule. Neither occurred in the case of the public charge rule, with the Biden Administration abandoning defense of the rule in court and reverting to the weaker Clinton-era standards.

A copy of the petition in the case of Arizona v. City and County of San Francisco can be found at https://bit.ly/2Uv50CL.

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News releases issued prior to 2011 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.