A United States federal judge in New York on Friday temporarily blocked a Trump administration rule that would deny permanent residency to certain aspiring immigrants deemed likely to require government assistance in the future.
Similar rulings were made in California and Washington state.
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The rule, which was finalised in August, vastly expanded who could be considered a possible “public charge” from someone who would be primarily dependent on the government to someone who might at some point need government help such as food stamps or housing vouchers.
The Department of Homeland Security rule, pushed by Trump’s leading aide on immigration, Stephen Miller, was due to go into effect on October 15. It will now be on hold while legal challenges against it proceed.
Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York, issued a nationwide block of the rule, writing that plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their claims and would suffer “irreparable harm” if the rule were to go into effect. He wrote the government had failed to demonstrate why the current approach was inadequate.
“It is repugnant to the American dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upward mobility,” Daniels wrote.
Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, expressed confidence that the administration would eventually prevail and framed the policy as a legal attempt to ensure that those who settled in the United States could support themselves financially and not be a drain on public benefits.
“The public charge standard was never intended to exclude working-class immigrants from developing countries,” said Charles Wheeler, a lawyer with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, which is a plaintiff in the case. “This ruling confirms that the American dream remains open to them.”