Biden walks back Trump’s 2019 ‘public charge’ rule, will no longer defend it in court

Joe Biden has made clear over the last several weeks that his top priorities as president involve undoing as much of former President Donald Trump’s agenda as possible, particularly within the realm of immigration and border security.

In just the latest move, the White House has announced that the Biden administration will walk back Trump’s controversial “public charge” rule, which places eligibility requirements on legal immigrants to the U.S., as The Hill reported.

The rule, first put in place by Trump in 2019, rendered ineligible for green cards or entry visas any migrant who couldn’t prove they would be self-sufficient and wouldn’t place a burden — i.e., a “public charge” — on taxpaying Americans by claiming various entitlements.

DHS drops it

In a statement issued Tuesday, Biden’s Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that a review, launched by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by virtue of an executive order, had determined that the public charge rule was “neither in the public interest nor an efficient use of limited government resources.”

“The 2019 public charge rule was not in keeping with our nation’s values. It penalized those who access health benefits and other government services available to them,” Mayorkas said in his statement.

“Consistent with the President’s vision, we will continue to implement reforms that improve our legal immigration system,” he added.

The same day, the DHS issued a press release announcing that it would no longer be involved in any litigation to support or defend the rule, and would instead fall back upon the more lenient regulations that had previously been in place since 1999.

According to Mayorkas, that means that the Biden administration will withdraw itself as a litigant in a number of cases still pending before the Fourth and Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeal, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Common sense immigration rules”

However, The Hill noted that just because the Biden administration has extricated itself from the public charge cases and will no longer defend the rule doesn’t automatically mean those cases are decided — at least, not yet.

As it turns out, likely in anticipation of this development, at least a dozen attorneys general from Republican-led states joined with Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich in a bid to continue a legal defense of the 2019 rule on behalf of the former Trump administration.

“All we are trying to do is uphold common sense immigration rules that ensure that folks that come to this country can truly be self-sufficient,” Brnovich told The Hill in a statement before the DHS issued its announcement. “This policy ensures our government welfare programs won’t be overrun,” the Arizona AG added.

Whether these GOP attorneys general will actually continue the legal fight over the 2019 public charge rule now that Biden has thrown in the towel on it remains to be seen.

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