Medicine

Judge blocks green card denials for poorer immigrants

Judge blocks green card denials for poorer immigrants

A federal judge on Friday blocked a Trump administration rule that makes it more hard for immigrants who rely on public assistance to obtain legal status, just days before the regulation was set to take effect.

Judge George B. Daniels, of the Southern District of New York, ruled on Friday afternoon that the plaintiffs - five organizations that work to aid immigrants, as well as the governments of New York state, New York City, Connecticut and Vermont - are likely to succeed in their claims against the Trump administration.

By the end of the day, two other federal judges issued rulings against the Trump administration.

Homeland Security's new rules expanded the list of benefits that could put someone over the line to include Medicaid, food stamps and public housing.

President Trump has ordered that immigrants must prove they have enough money to buy health insurance or prove they already have access to health insurance so they do not become a "public charge".

The Trump administration, with Miller in a leading role, has enacted a series of measures attempting to curtail immigration, only to be blocked by court injunctions until the underlying lawsuits can be heard.

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.

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The rule prompted concern among advocates who argued it would lead many immigrants - including those with children who are citizens - to forgo participating in a government safety net program because of fear that it could risk their green card status in the future.

The district court's ruling came one week after President Donald Trump issued a proclamation saying his administration will suspend entry of immigrants who lack healthcare or can not prove they are able to pay for medical expenses.

"Overnight, the rule will expose individuals to economic insecurity, health instability, denial of their path to citizenship and potential deportation", Daniels wrote.

Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli said in August the administration was "reinforcing the ideals of our self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, ensuring that immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful here in America".

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". Previously it applied to immigrants who would be primarily dependent on the government. Titled "Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds", the rule sparked several legal challenges. Officials would deem an immigrant a "public charge" and deny the application if they determine he or she is more likely than not to use one of the considered benefits for 12 months or longer over the span of three years. 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".

The ruling follows a suit brought by California, Maine, Oregon, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.

U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in Oakland, California, ruled in favor of California, Maine, Oregon, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.


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