Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, is forcing a vote on a resolution of disapproval of the Biden administration’s “public charge” rule regarding immigrants and welfare — a resolution that the White House announced that President Biden would veto.
Marshall will take to the Senate floor on Wednesday afternoon to make a motion to proceed, triggering a vote on his resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act — which allows lawmakers to object to rules being put forward by the administration. The resolution had been filed by lawmakers in both chambers of Congress earlier this year.
The resolution would nullify the Department of Homeland Security’s rule, introduced last year, that would codify guidance put in place during the Clinton administration and would depart significantly from a now-reversed Trump-era rule issued in 2019 that significantly expanded the forms of welfare that would consider an immigrant as a “public charge.”
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The “public charge” has been a long-standing concept in immigration law and refers to someone deemed likely to rely on government assistance — it is a condition for denying someone immigration status.
The Biden rule would mean that green card applicants would only be considered a public charge “if they are likely at any time to become primarily dependent on the government” for help. Officials would still consider reliance on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), cash assistance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and state, tribal and local cash assistance for income maintenance.
However, the 2019 Trump-era rule had attempted to also make officials consider benefits including food stamps, housing vouchers and Medicaid benefits. That rule considered anyone a public charge if they received one or more designated benefits for more than 12 months within a 36-month period.
The rule would not affect illegal immigrants, and applies primarily to immigrants who have arrived in the U.S. legally and are on some form of temporary visa and are applying for permanent residency in the U.S. Public charge assessments are not made of asylum seekers, refugees and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients.
However, the rule also comes as political discussion about immigration has focused primarily on the massive illegal immigration crisis at the southern border — and as the Biden administration is massively expanding legal migration pathways as part of its effort to tackle the crisis.
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In a statement to Fox News Digital, Marshall noted that ongoing border crisis, which he saw in person in Brownsville, Texas last week, and cited statistics that approximately 6 million people — double the population of his state of Kansas — have crossed illegally under the Biden administration.
“Through this Administration’s public charge rule, Joe Biden signaled to those looking to become citizens of our country that they can ‘have it all’ in the U.S., lowering the standards for American citizenship while offering generous federal benefits paid for by the American taxpayers,” he said in a statement.
“Striking down Joe Biden’s public charge rule sends a clear message to this Administration and migrants — potential new citizens need to be exceptional. They cannot come to our front door expecting a handout,” he said.
The Biden administration has pushed back against criticism of the rule, saying it ensures fair and humane treatment of legal immigrants. In a statement of administration policy on Wednesday, the White House said that President Biden would veto the resolution if it passed.
“[The rule] is an important step towards undoing the damage that resulted from the chilling effect of the 2019 public charge rule and provides a clear, comprehensive, and fair standard for assessing whether a noncitizen is likely to become a public charge,” the statement said. “If Congress were to pass this joint resolution, the President would veto it.”
Fox News’ Sally Persons contributed to this report.
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