The ever-present activist judges are at it once again.
This time around, an Obama-era judge has repealed an immigration statute that denied visas to hopeful immigrants who would present a financial burden to the public.
Earlier in the week, Judge Michael Simon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon issued a decision blocking the Trump Administration’s policy of denying visas to immigrants who do not have, or cannot afford, health insurance.
It makes one wonder if this was an act made out of real legal importance, or just a move against Trump.
Judge Simon’s decision is a clear-cut example of judicial activism. In order for the judge to make his ruling work, he had to completely disregard one of the oldest immigration laws on the books: the public charge doctrine.
In the plainest of language, the doctrine was set into place to that people who wanted to enter the country couldn’t be seen as someone who’d be a financial burden on society.
Seeing that no hospital can legally turn someone away in need of immediate care and those who can’t afford healthcare have access to state and federal programs at times to cover costs, that could certainly pose financial burdens to the greater populace.
The doctrine first appeared in 1645 within Massachusetts colony. Hundreds of years later with the Immigration Act of 1882, Congress placed the doctrine in federal law, excluding any immigrant “unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge.”
Flash forward to 1996, congress modified the doctrine to read, “Any alien who, in the opinion of the consular officer at the time of application for a visa … is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.”
In a sense, the judge completely disregarded hundreds of years of immigration laws and practice.
Trump’s policy, which was announced on October 4 this year, embodies the public charge statute flawlessly. Still, Judge Simon ruled that the Trump policy fixated too much on the ability to pay for health care, when the federal statute listed a number of factors that were to be considered in judging whether an alien might become a public charge.
Well, the law simply cites five factors to be considered: age, health, family status, assets/resources/financial status, and education and skills.
The plain reading of the law says that any red flags there could make someone inadmissible, and it also states other factors can be considered too.
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So, Judge Simon decided it was time to rewrite the law in their decision, ruling that, “Immigration officials may not rely on any single reason for concluding that an alien is likely to become a public charge.”
If that wasn’t enough bench-based activism, Judge Simon had another interpretation up his robed sleeve: dismantling the president’s ability to call the final shots on immigration in general.
The overzealous judge decided that a federal law that endows the president with the ability to cease the entry of certain aliens of a class or status from entering the country is just not constitutional with regard to Trump’s healthcare caveat for would-be immigrants.
So how did Judge Simon pull that one off?
Well, he cited a very weak interpretation of the non-delegation doctrine. The non-delegation doctrine is a theory that Congress can’t endow powers to people or bodies, like allowing the president to enact immediate immigration laws or stances. Yet, the non-delegation theory can be torn to shreds if anyone sat in a court and pointed a finger at the FDA or the IRS; shining examples of Congress endowing bodies with power.
US immigration proclamation by Donald Trump requiring prospective immigrants prove health insurance blocked by federal judge – CBS News https://t.co/SXTgCDxlat
— Fitness Figure (@figure_fitness) December 2, 2019
The judge’s interpretations and ruling are likely going to be overturned in the long run, if not in the Court of Appeals, then in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has rarely ever invalidated a law due to a citation of the non-delegation doctrine. The real crux of all this is that a perfectly legal and reasonable policy will be suspended.
But it shouldn’t be surprising that the Obama-era judge was able to pull this off. Anytime the president made any attempt at enforcing reasonable immigration policies, there was a judge ready to strike it down. From the travel ban, to DACA, to building the wall, and now to financial burdens entering the country.
The irony in all this is that an Obama-era policy fined United States citizens for not maintaining health coverage for years, which if left unpaid then you’d be sitting in a jail for tax evasion. Yet now, these cronies will forget they pulled that stunt on their own citizens and now want to welcome in immigrants who don’t have healthcare and will cost us money. Hypocrisy is around every corner.
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