AFL Files Brief at SCOTUS to Hold the Biden Administration Accountable for Abandoning Its Duty to Defend the “Public Charge” Rule

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC – – America First Legal filed a brief at the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, slamming the Biden Administration for manipulating the federal courts to gut our immigration laws and bypass the public participation guarantees provided by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, an alien is “inadmissible” if he is “likely at any time to become a public charge.” Self-sufficiency has been a basic principle of United States immigration law for decades, and Congress has repeatedly affirmed  both that aliens within the Nation’s borders must rely on their own capabilities and the resources of their families, their sponsors, and private organizations, not taxpayers, and that the availability of public benefits must not be an incentive for immigration to the United States. The Trump Administration followed the law, adhering to the APA’s rigorous public participation requirements, to adopt a rule defining  “public charge” to include both cash assistance and certain non-cash benefits received for more than a year during the past three years. 

The open borders lobby filed many lawsuits challenging the Trump rule. The Supreme Court repeatedly signaled that the rule was lawful, issuing multiple stays of lower court injunctions. Nevertheless, leftist judges continued their resistance, and in February, 2021, the Supreme Court agreed to finally settle the matter. But once the Biden Administration took office, it abandoned the government’s traditional role in defending federal law—including administrative rules adopted after public notice-and-comment rulemaking—and coordinated a blitzkrieg of dismissals with the plaintiffs, its political allies. So, locking into place a single Illinois district court order purporting to vacate the rule, the federal government walked away.  

The implications of this unprecedented action are far-reaching. If the government succeeds in its effort to leverage one (stayed) district court order into a near permanent rule reversal—on an issue where the Supreme Court has issued multiple stays and granted certiorari—it will routinely begin circumventing the APA’s important public participation requirements. Not only will the government deny citizens notice and comment, it will scuttle judicial review of its collusive, politically-motivated deals.  And, simply by locking in one judge’s order in a “settlement”, it will tie the hands of any future administration. 

America First Legal is committed to upholding the rule of law and fighting back against an administration that holds our laws, our citizens, and our way of life in contempt. 

Statement from America First Legal President Stephen Miller: 

The Biden Administration’s practice of settling lawsuits with leftist plaintiffs, or simply abandoning the defense of lawful regulations, in order to bypass the Administrative Procedures Act — and in effect use the courts to make policy without doing the legally-required policy work — is heinous. It is collusive. It is an assault on our legal system. Case in point: the public charge rule. One of the most important regulations of the Trump Administration—finally implementing the un-executed federal statute requiring newcomers to be financially self-sufficient. Abandoning the defense of this statute is atrocious, lawless and inexcusable — and we are deeply gratified a coalition of states has intervened to protect U.S. taxpayers and citizens. AFL will defend our immigration laws and the constitutional rule of law,” Stephen Miller said. 

Read the Amicus Brief here.

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