On April 24, 2020, the Supreme Court denied a motion to suspend the Trump administration’s controversial Public Charge rule during coronavirus but the Supreme Court did indicate that the number of states who sought the motion should seek the District Courts for further relief. The state of NY, CT, VT, and New York City argued that during the pandemic the Trump administration Public Charge rule had the impact of preventing immigrants from using health care and public benefits that are necessary for survival during these times.
Trump’s much-criticized public charge rule makes it more difficult for immigrants to obtain a permanent US visa, popularly known as a Green Card, should they access public benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps, and housing vouchers. Further, the state’s position is that having the immigrants access the necessary health care facilities and seek treatment will only help the United States fight the pandemic. Without access to essential health care and the immigrants’ reluctance to seek treatment when in need due to lack of funds, the Covid-19 virus can continue to spread at a greater rate.
In February, a 5 to 4 vote saw the public charge rule upheld by the Supreme Court, despite a series of legal challenges. However, given the effect of coronavirus on the US population, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the world, state leaders had called for the public charge rule to be temporarily suspended. Now, with the denial of the motion to suspend the Public Charge rule, states have to petition the US District Courts to address the issue. The states of Connecticut, New York, and Vermont will have to urge justices to block the public charge rule across the US, highlighting the fact that the country’s efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus may be severely impacted without the suspension of the Public Charge rule.