trump administration immigrant wealth test

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People on Twitter ask whose ancestors would’ve passed immigrant ‘wealth test’

The Supreme Court on Monday voted 5-4 in favor of Trump's 'public charge' rule.


Samira Sadeque


Posted on Jan 27, 2020   Updated on May 19, 2021, 4:51 pm CDT

The Supreme Court on Monday voted to allow the government to deny green cards to citizens who might need government assistance programs, according to multiple reports. The move led social media users to ask whose ancestors would have passed the so-called “wealth test.”

The court voted 5-4 with the conservatives leading the vote, lifting a former injunction on the program, which President Donald Trump’s administration said in August it would be reviewing, according to the New York Times. While previous provisions of the “public charge rule” was applicable only to those requiring “substantial and sustained long-term” government assistance, and was instrumental in green-card application being denied to less than 1% of applicants, the new measure will include even those who require occasional and/or minimal government assistance such as Medicaid and food stamps.  

Such strict measures would disqualify many immigrants, and advocates such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) condemned the vote.

“The administration has weaponized [Department of Homeland Security] to make it harder for immigrants to find a home, build a family and participate in our society,” Sam Brooke, SPLC deputy legal director, said in a statement on Monday afternoon. “The rule is just the latest effort in the Trump administration’s relentless attack on nonwhite immigrants in our communities and at the border.”  

Meanwhile, people took to Twitter to express their frustration with the ruling. Many shared their personal stories of how their own family wouldn’t qualify for the green card under the “wealth test” back in the day.

Many asked, with America being a land of immigrants, how many of those involved in the decision-making would likely be here if the wealth test was enforced upon their ancestors.


Many also quoted the “The New Colossus” poem that’s etched on the Statue of Liberty. Lines of the poem—”Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”—have operated as a tool for many advocates to remind the administration of American values.


In August, a Trump official said the “huddled masses” line in the poem was supposedly only about Europeans coming into America, which only lends to many people’s suspicions that the current public charge rule is specifically aimed at Black and brown communities.

Many outright said this is a result of electing Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose nomination initially faced much scrutiny and backlash in 2018.


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*First Published: Jan 27, 2020, 6:54 pm CST