File - In this Jan. 31, 2019, file photo, hundreds of people overflow onto the sidewalk in a line snaking around the block outside a U.S. immigration office with numerous courtrooms in San Francisco. Federal judges are being asked to block a new Trump administration policy scheduled to take effect next week that would deny legal permanent residency to many immigrants over the use of public benefits. Almost a dozen lawsuits have been filed from New York to California to prevent the "public charge" rule from taking effect on Oct. 15. Judges have indicated a willingness to issue rulings before the scheduled start date. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
world

U.S. judge blocks green card denials for poorer immigrants

6 Comments
By ELLIOT SPAGAT and DEEPTI HAJELA

A federal judge in New York on Friday temporarily blocked President Donald Trump from implementing a plan to deny green cards to many immigrants who use Medicaid, food stamps and other government benefits.

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.

In his ruling, Daniels said Trump was redefining immigration rules that had stood since the late 1800s with a new framework that had "no logic."

Allowing the policy to go into effect now, he said, would have a significant impact on "law-abiding residents who have come to this country to seek a better life."

"Overnight, the rule will expose individuals to economic insecurity, health instability, denial of their path to citizenship and potential deportation," Daniels wrote. "It is a rule that will punish individuals for their receipt of benefits provided by our government, and discourages them from lawfully receiving available assistance intended to aid them in becoming contributing members of society."

Almost simultaneously, a federal judge in California also blocked the policy from taking effect, but that order was more geographically limited to states involved in the case: California, Oregon, Maine, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.

The U.S. Justice Department, which was defending the administration's policy in court, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the ruling.

The lawsuit in New York is one of several legal challenges nationwide to one of Trump's most aggressive steps to cut legal immigration.

Immigration advocates say the rule changes are discriminatory because they would deny legal residency and visas to immigrants who don't have money.

The Trump administration has said the rules would ensure that immigrants who are granted residency are self-sufficient.

Federal law already requires immigrants seeking to become permanent U.S. 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 policy is central to Trump's longtime goal to slash legal immigration and gear it more for people with employment skills instead of toward family members. Those ideas were part of his pitch for an overhaul of immigration laws during his first year but negotiations faltered in Congress.

On average, 544,000 people apply for green cards every year, with about 382,000 falling into categories that would be subject to the new review, according to the government. Guidelines in use since 1999 refer to a "public charge" as someone primarily dependent on cash assistance, income maintenance or government support.

Under the new rules, the Department of Homeland Security has redefined a public charge as someone who is "more likely than not" to receive public benefits for more than 12 months within a 36-month period. If someone uses two benefits, that is counted as two months. And the definition has been broadened to include Medicaid, housing assistance and food assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Factors like the immigrant's age, employment status and English-language ability would also be looked at to determine whether they could potentially become public burdens at any point in the future.

Critics say the rule changes are discriminatory and would have the effect of barring immigrants with lower incomes in favor of those with wealth. They consider it a betrayal of Emma Lazarus' words on the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

The government has said the rule changes would ensure that those gaining legal residency status are self-sufficient.

Immigrants make up a small portion of those getting public benefits because their legal status often makes them ineligible. An Associated Press analysis of census data shows that non-citizen immigrants with low incomes have a lower rate of using Medicaid, food aid, cash assistance and Supplemental Security Income than their native-born counterparts.

For Medicaid, non-citizen immigrants are only 6.5% of participants, while more than 87% are native-born. For food assistance, immigrants are 8.8% of recipients, with over 85% of participants being native-born.

Earlier this month, Trump issued a presidential proclamation that says immigrants will be barred from entering the country unless they are to be covered by health insurance within 30 days of entering or have enough financial resources to pay for any medical costs. The measure will be effective Nov. 3. The Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, says it could prohibit the entry of about 375,000 a year, mainly family members who account for a majority of people getting green cards from abroad.

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

6 Comments
Login to comment

Good. It won't be long before Trumpophiles are hear disparaging these judges as partisan with no evidence beyond their ruling against Donny.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Donny took a beating in federal court today:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-suffers-losses-in-3-major-court-decisions-202301790.html

2 ( +2 / -0 )

No worries, the SC will rule in Trump’s favor again when it gets to their desks.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

So liberals do want immigrants to come here and be on public benefits and get bunch of free stuff that citizens don’t.

what happened to the liberal talking that all immigrants are doctors and scientists or something.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

And just to continue the 100% streak, Dem appointee

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

So liberals do want immigrants to come here and be on public benefits and get bunch of free stuff that citizens don’t.

Well, we want the law to be upheld.

This judge upheld the law. It had nothing to do with the will of "liberals", it was a judge doing what judges do - judging.

You should be outraged. How dare he do what he was appointed to do. Scandalous innit.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites