For Immediate Release
Sam Gerard, email@example.com, 202-238-9088 ext. 105
(Washington, DC, February 25, 2020)—Humanist leaders are alarmed that the Supreme Court cleared the way for new public charge regulations that allow the denial of entry to migrants who may depend on federal public assistance programs.
The rule change has been held up in lower courts for the past four months, but in a five-four decision, the Supreme Court allowed the rule change to go into effect in every state except Illinois. The court lifted the final judicial injunction in that state on Friday, February 21. This injunction was dismissed despite a hearing on the order being scheduled for next week.
The rule already impacted vulnerable communities, as noncitizens are dropping out of benefit programs in fear of immigration consequences, although it officially went into effect on Monday, February 24.
“The immigration process is already difficult to navigate properly, and the new public charge regulations don’t help,” AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt commented. “The administration is introducing more cruelty to the immigration process by denying those with the most need the chance to become a US citizen.”
In her dissent, issued last Friday, Justice Sonia Sotomayor noted that the federal government has sought emergency action from the Supreme Court in an unprecedented number of cases. Sotomayor argued that these emergency applications disrupt the “normal appellate process,” taking authority from the state courts who are deliberating on these policy questions.
“Even the most hardworking among us may need help at certain points in our lives,” argued Sunil Panikkath, President of the American Humanist Association. “A set of blind bureaucratic rules that do not recognize this would transform immigration into a mean-spirited and un-American exercise that callously turns away deserving future Americans.”
At the most recent American Humanist Association board meeting, the organization expanded its scope of advocacy work to include immigration justice. The resolution demands that the humanity of refugees and migrants be front and center in our immigration policy.
Read the AHA’s new resolution in full here.
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The American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming worldview of humanism, which—without beliefs in gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms a responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.