Supreme Court Allows Trump Administration to Move Forward with Discriminatory Public Charge Rule

Washington, DC – SEARAC is appalled at yesterday’s Supreme Court decision to uphold the Trump Administration’s “public charge” regulation. In a 5-4 ruling split along ideological lines, the highest court of the land is allowing a policy disproportionately harming low-income immigrants to move forward. “Public charge” forces millions of immigrant families to choose between protecting their immigration status or accessing critical, and oftentimes lifesaving health, nutrition, and housing benefits for their families.
Under the Trump Administration’s new definition, public charge determination will be expanded to include a number of additional government benefits. Southeast Asian immigrants who arrived to the United States through the family-based visa program are likely be most impacted, as they are the most vulnerable while waiting in line to adjust their status. In 2016, 87% of Cambodians, 96% of Laotians, and 97% of Vietnamese immigrants who received a green card were able to do so due to a family-based visa petition.1
“The Trump Administration’s racially motivated, discriminatory wealth test attacks America’s historical legacy and commitment to immigrants of all backgrounds,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of SEARAC. “This is not the America that welcomed my parents as refugees decades ago and showed compassion to many other low-income SEAA immigrants that I grew up with in my community. Immigrants contribute immensely to this country and should not have to choose between living and thriving in the land of freedom and opportunity.”

Click here to learn more about what this rule means.


1. Department of Homeland Security, “Table 10: Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Broad Class of Admission and Region and Country of Birth: Fiscal year 2016”:

Elaine Sanchez Wilson
(202) 601-2970