A federal judge blocked the Trump administration from a planned Oct. 15 expansion of criteria for blocking immigrants who have received government assistance from entering or remaining in the country.
Judge George B. Daniels of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a nationwide preliminary injunction Friday blocking the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services public charge rule from going into effect and shrinking the pool of green card applications, or those seeking to permanently live in the United States.
In the injunction, Daniels said the suing organizations and states “will suffer irreparable harm if the Rule becomes effective.” The ruling also stated the lawsuit was likely to succeed when held up against the Administrative Procedure Act and U.S. Constitution.
The order was a combined response to a suit from Make the Road New York, African Services Committee, Asian American Federation, Catholic Charities Community Services, and Catholic Legal Immigration Network, as well as another suit by New York state, New York City, Connecticut, and Vermont.
The Department of Homeland Security published a rule change proposal in the Federal Register in August that would have expanded a 1999 rule to outline new categories of immigrants who would be barred from entry or denied visa renewals due to reliance on U.S. government benefits like Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.
The term “public charge” is the government’s term for noncitizens who have received long-term financial or other assistance.
The now-blocked rule would have meant immigrants applying for legal permanent residency, a step before applying for citizenship, would be judged based on additional types of assistance they have accepted from the federal government for at least 12 months in any 36-month period. The test already included use of cash benefits, Supplemental Security Income, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.
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.”
But a slew of state and organizations sued, saying the definition of public charge discriminated against the poor and others.
“This rule would have had devastating impacts on New Yorkers and our nation, and today’s decision is a critical step in our efforts to uphold the rule of law,” New York state Attorney General Letitia James wrote in a post on Twitter.
BREAKING: We’ve secured a nationwide preliminary injunction to BLOCK Trump’s Public Charge Rule from taking effect.
This rule would have had devastating impacts on New Yorkers and our nation, and today’s decision is a critical step in our efforts to uphold the rule of law.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) October 11, 2019
Cuccinelli said in August the change would affect about 400,000 annual applicants.
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