Speaker Nancy Pelosi

U.S. House of Representatives

Pelosi Statement on Amicus Brief in Casa de Maryland v. Trump

January 21, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement as the U.S. House of Representatives filed an amicus brief today with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in the case Casa De Maryland v. Trump, which argues that the Administration’s cruel new policy of denying green cards to immigrants who may participate in government initiatives including for food, health and housing in the future violates the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA):

“The President’s draconian rule to dramatically limit admissibility and green cards for immigrants is a cruel, callous and clearly illegal attempt to distort the law in order to advance a discriminatory and hateful anti-immigrant agenda.   

“As the House’s amicus brief states, the President’s ‘new rule would replace the century-old understanding of ‘public charge’ with a harmful regime that cannot be intelligibly applied.’  This new rule ‘would be impossible to apply rationally or fairly’ and would unleash a campaign of fear and discrimination, as immigration officers would have the unchecked ability to make predictive judgments about immigrants’ likelihood of participating in assistance initiatives including Medicaid, based on standards such as language proficiency.  Immigrants would have no way of knowing how to satisfy these absurd new standards.  Moreover, as the House brief makes clear, the rule is a decision that Congress has refused to authorize the Administration to make:  ‘The Executive Branch cannot accomplish by regulation what the Legislative Branch has rejected by legislation.’

“President Trump’s policy is not only illegal but also immoral.  This policy is designed solely to punish and terrorize immigrant families simply for who they are, vastly expanding the definition of ‘public charge’ to deny immigrants the right to pursue a green card if deemed likely at any point in the future to collect even just 50 cents of assistance per day.  The President’s own Department of Homeland Security has acknowledged that this rule would undermine family stability, increase poverty, erode public health and harm pregnant women who would be eligible for participating in health initiatives designed to help babies and children.

“Since Day One, this Administration has launched an assault on America’s immigrant communities, including with its barbaric family separation policy, its assault on patriotic Dreamers and the termination of life-saving protections for those fleeing violence and oppression.  The Democratic House will continue to fight in the Congress, in the courts and in the court of public opinion to protect immigrant communities and ensure that America remains a beacon of hope, freedom and opportunity for all.”