Mr. Yale-Loehr said fines amount to a “slap on the wrist” since the government would be paying itself, but a finding of contempt of court would be embarrassing and might lead to compliance. “Nobody likes to be held in contempt of court,” he said.
Voice of America in “Proposed [Public Charge] Rule May Affect U.S. Legal Immigration.”
Mr. Yale-Loehr said, “This is not a new issue. The United States has prohibited the entry of paupers and people likely to become public charges since 1882. Most potential immigrants must show that they earn at least 125 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines before they are granted green cards, or have sponsors assume financial responsibility for them.” He also noted that of the more than 1 million people granted permanent residence in fiscal year 2017, only 3,237 were found ineligible based on public charge concerns.
Legal experts say the judge could threaten contempt of court and jail time against lower-ranking members of federal agencies, could order hefty fines, or could order the agency heads to appear in court as a form of public shaming. He said the somewhat symbolic finding of contempt of court, without much punishment attached, may be the limit of the judge’s ruling. “The court of public opinion, and the admonition by the judge, may be about as much as anyone can practically do at this point.”