June 6, 2023

Migrants approach the U.S. border at the Gateway International Bridge in Brownsville, Texas on March 2, 2021.

Sergio Flores | AFP | Getty Images

The Justice Department told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that it would no longer defend a Trump administrative rule that limits immigrants seeking permanent residence in the United States.

Trump’s White House tightened what is known as the public fee rule for immigrants when they are unlikely to need pecuniary benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps, or government housing benefits.

The move is the last in a series of Justice Department decisions after President Joe Biden took office in January to remove positions from the Department during President Donald Trump’s tenure.

It comes a month after the Supreme Court enacted the public prosecution rule change while the US Court of Appeals was pending an injunction against the rule.

Before Trump took office, it was a longstanding federal policy to consider whether an immigrant was likely to need monetary aid or long-term hospitalization in order to decide whether that person should be granted permanent residency status.

The Trump administration broadened this definition to include non-cash benefits like Medicaid, which primarily provides health insurance to people on low incomes.

A number of federal district courts in the United States had blocked the rule from taking effect.

However, the Trump administration successfully overturned those orders when it appealed to the Court of Appeals and, ultimately, the Supreme Court in late January.