Judge blocks Trump immigration rule, calls it 'repugnant to American Dream'

Public charge rule blocked: Judge prevents Trump administration from enforcing tough green card and visa requirements

A federal judge for the Southern District of NY on Friday blocked a contentious Trump administration rule that would have given the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leeway to deny visas and green cards to immigrants who use food stamps, among other forms of government assistance.

U.S. District Judge George Daniels' ruling came just four days before the Trump administration was set to start enforcing new rules that would disqualify immigrants from getting legal U.S. residency if they were likely to become a burden on public welfare programs.

A third federal judge has temporarily blocked President Donald Trump's plans to deny green cards to many immigrants who use Medicaid food stamps and other government benefits.

Federal law already requires immigrants seeking to become permanent USA residents to prove they will not be a burden on the country - a "public charge", in legal terms -but the new rules detail a broader range of programs that could disqualify applicants.

The injunction puts the policy on hold while a lawsuit over the police advances.

It also signifies a major legal triumph for a coalition of advocacy groups and Democratic-led states, counties and cities that challenged the rule through almost a dozen lawsuits in federal courts across the country. The changes applied chiefly to migrants applying for green cards, or permanent legal status.

The Trump administration contended it sought to clear up a term that was used in USA immigration law since 1882.


In New York, Judge Daniels called the rule a "policy of exclusion in search of a justification".

Among low-income immigrant families, the figure was more than one in five, according to the study, which was based on a December 2018 survey of almost 2,000 non-elderly adults who are foreign born or live with at least one foreign-born family member. Guidelines in use since 1999 refer to a "public charge" as someone primarily dependent on cash assistance, income maintenance or government support. The Trump administration's move would have expanded public charge grounds to include use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, and Section 8 rental housing assistance.

In Washington, U.S. District Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson issued a nationwide injunctionruling that DHS had "not cited any statute, legislative history, or other resource that supports the interpretation that Congress has delegated to DHS the authority to expand the definition of who is inadmissible as a public charge or to define what benefits undermine, rather than to promote, the stated goal of achieving self-sufficiency".

The public charge rule laid out factors immigration officers should weigh, including household income and English proficiency. They consider it a betrayal of Emma Lazarus' words on the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your exhausted, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free".

Acting Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli, speaks during a briefing at the White House, Aug. 12, 2019, in Washington.

The proclamation, published by the White House on October 4, requested that those seeking US immigrant visas be covered by "approved health insurance" within 30 days of entry into the country, or possess "the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs".

In California, U.S. Judge Phyllis Hamilton found "the plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits, for numerous reasons".

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