The public charge Final Rule, as it is called, is a controversial proposal by the Trump administration to prevent some immigrants from getting green cards, but as of now it isn’t going anywhere fast.
Public charge is a test in certain visa and green card applications to determine if immigrants are likely to become dependent on the government. The test once penalized immigrants who used cash assistance or mental health treatment for long-term care federally funded by Medicaid. The list has been expanded to cover food stamps, subsidized and public housing, and non-emergency, federally funded Medicaid.
But three U.S. District judges in three states halted the public charge rule, which would have gone into effect nationwide Tuesday. In Friday decisions, federal judges in New York, California and Washington issued injunctions to block a new version of public charge which was set to be implemented on Oct. 15. Moreover, State Attorney General Letitia James led one of nine lawsuits filed against the Trump administration across the nation soon after the new rule was published, along with the states of Connecticut and Vermont.
U.S. District Court Judge George B. Daniels of the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of blocking the rule, saying in his decision that the Final Rule would cause irreparable harm across all spectrums, especially regarding the economy and health care.
“No less important is the immediate and significant impact that the implementation of the Rule will have on law-abiding residents who come to this country to seek a better life,” Daniels wrote in his opinion. “Overnight, the Rule will expose individuals to economic insecurity, health instability, denial of their path to citizenship and potential deportation.”
The public charge rule is a transparent, discriminatory action to target low-income immigrants of color and punish them simply for committing the sin of being poor and deny them the path to citizenship. The shapers of rules like this have forgotten we are a nation founded by immigrants who came here to escape persecution, start a new life or even to survive.
Daniels’ ruling sends a clear message that New York is still open to all, despite their race or income, as of now, at least.