Judge blocks green card denials for poorer immigrants

Trump’s Immigrant Wealth Test Blocked Called ‘Repugnant’ Policy

But Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of NY blocked the rule nationwide, finding that the government failed to provide "any reasonable explanation" for why the definition of public charge needed to be changed.

Several non-profits sued Cuccinelli's office in September, shortly after the rule change was rolled out publicly.

The new rule would have made it possible to brand any immigrant with the potential to end up on public assistance as a burden, and consider that in deciding to issue green cards or visas.

"The rule is simply a new agency policy of exclusion in search of justification". "It is repugnant to the American Dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upward mobility".

U.S. immigration law has long required officials to exclude from permanent residency a person likely to become a "public charge". The rule expands the number of benefits that can be considered from interim guidance issued in 1999.

The Trump administration argues that the rule is only clarifying existing law, saying it believes immigrants who want to stay in the US should be able to support themselves and not rely on government aid. If they use food stamps, housing assistance or Medicaid, that too would be held against them.

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. On certain occasions, those deemed a "public charge" could post a bond for an amount no less than $8,100.

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Immigrants await their turn for green card and citizenship interviews in Queens, New York. Immigrant advocates said this would disproportionately affect people from Latin American, African and Asian countries. When a draft of the rule was published late previous year for a 60-day period of public review, it received more than 260,000 comments, a lot of them from individuals, organizations and jurisdictions opposed to the regulation. The rule, announced by U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services in August, would have defined a "public charge" as an immigrant who received one or more designated benefits for more than 12 months within a 36-month period.

According to one study, talk of the rule, along with confusion over which benefits will be consider, has prompted some immigrant families - including USA citizens - to avoid or drop food, medical and housing government benefits out of fear that enrollment would jeopardize immigration petitions filed by family members. Opponents say the administration's proposed rule could have a devastating impact on public health and impose huge costs on local and state governments.

Cuccinelli, who is named in the lawsuit, said the inscription should read instead: "Give me your exhausted and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge".

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule, if ultimately allowed to take effect, could be the most drastic of the Trump administration's hardline anti-immigration policies, experts have said. 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 principle driving it is an old American value, and that's self-sufficiency", USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli told Fox News in an interview in August.

On Thursday, the State Department revealed its own rule on ineligibility for visa applicants, to bring its standards in line with the DHS rule.

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