Here’s where Amy Coney Barrett stands on immigration
FELICIA J. PERSAUD | 10/1/2020, midnight
We are living in daunting times as Donald Trump gets ready to use his herd of Republican senators to push through a Supreme Court Justice for the third time. Screw the will of the majority––the herd mentality now rules!
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was still lying in state as Trump decided to announce her replacement. So along comes her opposite: ultra conversative Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who despite adopting two Black Haitian children, has a recent record of ruling against immigrants. Much to the glee of Trump and his right-wing herd.
Since her appointment to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals three years ago, her ruling on the public charge case especially, is a reason why every immigrant should be very afraid of this lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.
In the June 2020 case, Cook County v. Wolf, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit considered the legality of the Trump administration rule, redefining the term “public charge” for purposes of excluding immigrants from the country. Barrett sided with the administration in the controversial rule which allows officials to deny permanent legal status, also known as a green card, to immigrants who are likely to need public assistance.
In her whopping 40-page dissent in that case, she said the administration was just using the leeway those laws had given it. The objections of immigrants and their advocates “reflect disagreement with this policy choice and even the statutory exclusion itself,” she wrote.
Barrett dissented with the three-judge 7th Circuit panel and, delving into the historical record, she wrote that when the term “public charge” became part of federal immigration law in the late 19th century, it wasn’t clear how much government assistance it was referring to. She added: When Congress updated immigration laws in 1996, lawmakers added restrictions that gave the rule more “bite” and made clear that it applied to smaller amounts of government aid.
The public charge rule has now become law, and as of September 11, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a decision that allows the Department of Homeland Security to resume implementing the final rule nationwide. The decision stays the July 29, 2020, injunction, issued during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, that prevented DHS from enforcing the public charge final rule during a national health emergency.
Judge Barrett has also repeatedly refused to review cases brought by immigrants applying for humanitarian protections and other immigration benefits, who claimed they had been wrongfully denied. Some of those decisions may have negative repercussions for future such applicants; given that they set a precedent to be followed by judges in lower courts. The refusals also could make it harder for immigrants to challenge an adverse decision from a consular officer on their visa application or obtain deportation relief from an immigration judge.
In January 2019, Barrett wrote a 2–1 opinion upholding the Trump administration’s decision to deny a visa to the spouse of a naturalized U.S. citizen based on a finding that the spouse was involved in trying to smuggle children into the United States. The couple argued and presented evidence that the children were in fact their children, and also that the children had drowned. Barrett, however, agreed with a lower court judge who had dismissed the case on the grounds that courts can’t second-guess decisions by consular officers. Barrett wrote the majority opinion in the 2019 case Yafai v. Pompeo, ruling that the wife of a U.S. citizen could not challenge the denial of her visa application by a consular officer, who suspected the wife of child smuggling.
Both rulings indicate that she supports the Trump anti-immigration agenda and is willing to interpret the law to do so. Not a good precedent for the future of this country that Donald Trump has sought to change with his xenophobic policies for the past four years. Nov. 3rd must be the day of reckoning for Trump and his cohorts. Vote like your life depends on it––because it does!
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow