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The Supreme Court yesterday allowed Stephen Miller's new fuck-the-poor immigration rule to go into effect, giving the administration the go-ahead to start denying green cards and visas to legal immigrants who have used federal anti-poverty programs. The Court didn't actually decide whether the changes to the "public charge" rule are constitutional, but lifted lower courts' injunctions so the administration can get busy enforcing the rule, even as it's being challenged in lower courts. So now Team Trump will at least be able to get to fucking over less well-off immigrants right away, at least until the rule is maybe found unconstitutional or thrown out altogether by a different president. And with Trump and Republicans bent on remaking the courts as rapidly as possible, who knows whether another executive will be allowed to rescind the horrible rules put in place under Trump?

We're feeling very cheerful about the courts, you bet.


As we 'splained when the rule was rolled out last summer, Miller and his wrecking crew radically redefined an 1882 immigration law that gave immigration authorities the ability to exclude any immigrants who might become a "public charge" -- someone wholly dependent on the government for support. Until Trump and Miller, that law had always been applied sparingly, because prior administrations were aware that most immigrants only use safety net programs for a short time and then become taxpayers themselves. And let's not forget, the libertarians at the Cato Institute found that immigrants use social services at a lower rate, and for shorter periods, than US-born citizens.

But Congress never explicitly defined who is and isn't a "public charge," so Miller said the administration can define it however it wants. And what the administration wants is the ability to stop virtually all immigration by anyone not getting a FREE millionaire visa with the purchase of any Kushner condo (64 ounce size or larger).

The new rule formulated by the Department of Homeland Security allows immigration officers to put a black mark against any applicants who have used several public benefits -- like Medicaid, Section 8 housing assistance, or food stamps -- even though those immigrants were legally qualified for the benefits. The rule also allows officials to ding immigrants for other factors like the applicant's English proficiency, their age (no youts or old folks), and probably how recently Tucker Carlson has screamed about an invasion of brown people.

Even before the rule went into effect, the State Department had begun using the "public charge" criteria to deny visas to travelers, including people with family in the USA. Politico notes that

The State Department disqualified more than 12,000 visa applicants on public charge grounds last year, according to preliminary data reviewed by POLITICO, after rejecting just 1,033 people in fiscal year 2016 under the Obama administration.

Don't you feel a lot safer?

The new rule is also in accord with Miller's agenda of shifting decision-making over who's worthy of being in America to the loyal pro-Trumpers the administration prefers,

giving immigration officials at US Citizenship and Immigration Services and Customs and Border Protection a laundry list of factors to consider. And it allows individual immigration officials to implement this complicated, 217-page rule as they see fit.

The rule gives individual, low-level officials much more vetting power than they have now, injecting a lot of uncertainty into the green card process. The rule could significantly affect who is allowed to enter and remain in the US as a lawful permanent resident.

The Supremes voted 5-4 yesterday, along the expected ideological lines, to lift injunctions against the rule, and Justice Neil Gorsuch issued the only actual detailed opinion in the decision, a concurrence in which he ranted about how lower courts shouldn't get all uppity and issue nationwide injunctions against the executive branch's very good rules, because how dare they overstep their authority like that. Gorsuch said letting federal courts rule on constitutional issues beyond their own jurisdictions is just not fair to the sacred powers of the executive branch, which can do whatever it wants:

"If a single successful challenge is enough to stay the challenged rule across the country, the government's hope of implementing any new policy could face the long odds of a straight sweep" of all the district and appeals courts in the country, Gorsuch wrote.

Gorsuch's opinion was joined by Clarence Thomas, so there's one more more marker being set down for future rulings to enable an Imperial Presidency.

Just the news that the rule changes were on the way has already had a chilling effect on people applying for public benefits they're legally qualified for, even scaring away people whose immigration status won't be affected at all:

[A] report by the Urban Institute detailed a "spillover effect" in which both green card holders and U.S. citizens reported avoiding public benefits because of the proposal's expected implementation. [linky added -- Dok Zoom]

Nearly 15% of immigrants in families in which all members had green cards and 9.3% of adults in families comprised of naturalized U.S. citizens said they did not participate in government assistance programs within the past 12 months due to concerns about the proposed rule's impact on their and their family members' ability to qualify for permanent residency.

Needless to say, Trump supporters are thrilled at the prospect that legal immigrants are avoiding getting food and healthcare for their kids, even though they don't have to, because 1) America First, those programs are for Americans; and 2) American citizens shouldn't receive public assistance either, because they're all cheats anyway.

[Politico / CBS News/ Vox]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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