A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Monday said it will allow the Trump administration to enforce its controversial rule penalizing legal immigrants for using Medicaid and other public benefits while court battles play out.
The U.S. Justice Department had filed an emergency appeal on Jan. 13 asking the Supreme Court to lift a temporary nationwide stay on the rule issued by a federal judge in New York. The high court approved the Justice Department's request 5-4 with conservative justices in the majority.
The goal of the rule is to prevent people who look like they will need public assistance from getting permanent legal status in the U.S.
Federal immigration officials can now consider legal immigrants' use of public health insurance, nutrition, housing and other programs as a negative factor in their residency applications. Being under the age of 18 or over the age of 61 could also be a liability for legal immigrants under the rule.
Leaders of many healthcare organizations, including the American Hospital Association, America's Essential Hospitals, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics, have warned that the rule will hurt public health efforts and reduce providers' ability to serve millions of low-income children and families. They point to evidence that fear created by the proposal already has reduced participation in health programs.
The rule still will not take effect in Illinois, where a judge enforced a narrower injunction, Reuters reported.
The policy was originally set to go into effect on Oct. 15, 2019.