On January 27, the Trump-friendly Republican Supreme Court majority led by Chief Justice John Roberts voted 5-4 to lift a lower court injunction against enforcement of Stephen Miller's openly white supremacist Public Charge exclusion rule. This radical new rule, going far beyond any previous definition of "Public Charge" by Congress or the courts, could bar tens of millions of otherwise qualified legal immigrants from entering or residing in the United States. t

In reaction to that decision, the Trump administration issued a gloating and mendacious statement by USCIS director and Acting DHS Deputy Secretary, ken Cuccinelli, who has a record of anti-immigrant statements as well as opposition to US birthright citizenship, His statement included the following.:

"DHS has always been confident that an objective judiciary would reverse the injunctions imposed on the agency so that we are able to enforce long-standing law passed by a bipartisan Congress..."

(Quoted in Immigration Daily, January 28)

It is true that the doctrine of Public Charge is of long standing, having been used as a tool of anti-immigrant bigotry for almost 200 years. This strategy began with the anti-Irish Know-Nothing movement in the mid-19th century. It continued with the infamous Chinese exclusion laws beginning in 1882, and reached the depths of shame in the 1930's and early 1940's visa denials to Jewish immigrants trying to escape the concentration and death camps of occupied Europe,

But Cuccinelli's claim that the latest, drastically expanded version of the Public Charge rule which has just been rubber-stamped by the Roberts Supreme Court, has the sanction of Congress is an outright falsehood. It iis such an egregious example of mendacity that this statement alone rises questions about Cuccinelli's fitness hold his current positions

The truth is that Congress had nothing whatsoever to do with the latest, drastically expanded version of the Public Charge bar. It was developed by one person alone, Trump's immigration Torquemada and Grand Inquisitor, Stephen Miller.

Miller, only a few months ago, was revealed as having written almost 1,000 recent avowedly white supremacist immigration-related emails. This white supremacist view is reflected in the new Public Charge rule, which is heavily skewed toward admitting immigrants from relatively affluent white Europe only, just as was the case with the bigoted 1924 immigration act which Miller's emails show so much admiration for.


But by giving a pass to Miller's latest, wildly inflated version of Public Charge bigotry, of which I will give examples in forthcoming comments in this series, the Roberts Republican Supreme Court majority is continuing its practice of turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the obvious racial bigotry of the Trump administration's agenda of blocking nonwhite legal immigrants in many different categories, not only unauthorized ones, from coming to or residing in the United States.

In my next comment on this topic, I will discuss two articles about Trump's Muslim Ban, which the Roberts Court approved in 2018, by Paul A, Kramer, a history professor at Vanderbilt University. These articles will show that the Muslim Ban, far from being a genuine national security measure, revived a long tradition of US bigotry against minority immigrants going back to the infamous 1944 Supreme Court Korematsu decision upholding Japanese-American internment during WW2. See:


https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2017/02/trumps-muslim-ban-and-the-long-history-of-american-nativism.html

and:

https://slate.com.news-and-politics/2018/06/trump-travel-ban-the supreme-court-has-long-enabled-executive-power-to-discriminate.html

The same is true of the Roberts Court's approval of Trump's inhuman "Remain in Mexico" policy against desperate asylum seekers, which could well constitute a Crime Against Humanity under international law. The GOP Supreme Court majority's January 27 decision to uphold Miller's Public Charge rule is a continuation of a trend of sanctioning anti-immigrant racism which goes all the way back to the first Chinese exclusion law mentioned above, if not to the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision holding that only white people could be American citizens.

I will discuss these decisions by the Roberts Court in more detail in my forthcoming comments on this topic.


Roger Algase
Attorney at Law
Harvard College, A.B.
Harvard Law School LL.B.