Denying public charges

This tightening of immigration restrictions is a good first step.

The Trump administration will be allowed to tighten immigration restrictions with a policy that could see immigrants denied a green card if they are likely to receive public benefits, the US Supreme Court has ruled.

The 5-4 decision on Monday overrode the block on the policy imposed by a federal judge in New York and upheld by an appeals panel. The controversial new rule, which opponents have slammed as a “wealth test” meant to keep out immigrants from poor countries, can now take effect.

Last August, the Trump administration expanded the so-called “public charge” rule, which required immigration officials to turn away individuals likely to become primarily dependent on direct government cash assistance or institutionalization, to include a wider range of government benefits. A New York district court ruling blocked its implementation in October, which was upheld in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month.

Immigrants deemed likely to receive Medicaid (government health insurance), Supplemental Security Income, housing, or food assistance over a total of 12 months within any three-year period may be denied permanent residency under the new version of the rule. Immigration officials would examine applicants’ age, education, and ability to speak English, among other attributes, to determine their fitness.

The second step, of course, will be repatriating all resident immigrants who receive any government assistance. And for those who want to appeal to the poem on the Statue of Liberty as a counterargument, the obvious answer is to send all such indigent immigrants to the poet’s nation, which was not the United States of America.

Let each nation live up to its own standards.