Of Immigration, Public Charges, Disability Discrimination, and, of All Things, Hobby Lobby

Mark C. Weber.

This Essay seeks to demonstrate that federal disability discrimination law conflicts with and thus supervenes the Trump Administration’s new regulations changing the standards for excluding immigrants from the United States on the basis of their likelihood of becoming a public charge. The new regulations use an explicit disability-related discriminatory criterion that is not required by the statutory admission standards and will have an unjustified negative impact on immigrants who have disabling conditions. The Essay draws the comparison to Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Inc., a 2014 case in which the Supreme Court invalidated a federal regulation on the ground that it conflicted not with its enabling legislation but with an unrelated federal statute, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

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