The rule, which was scheduled to go into effect on Oct. 15, would make it more difficult for Caribbean and other immigrants to get green cards if they appear to be needing public assistance, such as financial aid, healthcare, food stamps and housing assistance.
Several legislators and immigration advocates filed legal challenges to Trump’s “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” rule. However, judges in New York, California and Washington on Oct. 11 issued the temporary injunctions against the public charge rule.
“The rule is simply a new agency policy of exclusion in search of a justification,” wrote Justice George B. Daniels, of the Southern District of New York, stating that the plaintiffs – five organizations that work to aid Caribbean and other immigrants, as well as New York State, New York City, Connecticut and Vermont – are highly likely to be triumphant in their claims against the Trump administration.
“It is repugnant to the American Dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upward mobility,” added Daniels about the public charge rule. “Immigrants have always come to this country seeking a better life for themselves and their posterity. With or without help, most succeed.”
District Justice Phyllis Hamilton of U.S. District Court in California ruled that the Trump administration “acted arbitrarily and capriciously during the legally-required process to implement the changes they propose,” stating that it was in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.
“It made no attempt, whatsoever, to investigate the type or magnitude of harm that would flow from the reality which it admittedly recognized would result – fewer people would be vaccinated,” she wrote.
U.S. District Justice Rosanna Malouf Peterson in Washington ruled that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had failed to cite any statute, legislative history or other resource that “supports the interpretation that Congress has delegated to DHS the authority to expand the definition of who is inadmissible as a public charge or to define what benefits undermine, rather than to promote, the stated goal of achieving self-sufficiency.”
Lawmakers celebrated the courts’ decision.
“It’s a great day for our democracy,” U.S. Congressman Yvette Clarke, daughter of Jamaican immigrants, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC). “This is a major win for immigrants.”
Clarke, who represents the predominantly Caribbean 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York, blasted Trump’s “attempted xenophobic policy” to deny immigrants U.S. residence.
“Hate and bigotry will not be tolerated in America,” she said.
Clarke added that the hardship on Caribbean and other families would have been “tremendous,” if the rule was allowed to become effective.
“People would not be able to feed their children, get proper health care, and it would put all of us at risk,” she explained.
In response, the White House expressed disappointment, noting in a statement that the courts’ rulings “prevent our nation’s immigration officers from ensuring that immigrants seeking entry to the United States will be self-sufficient and instead allow non-citizens to continue taking advantage of our generous but limited public resources reserved for vulnerable Americans.
“These injunctions are the latest inexplicable example of the administration being ordered to comply with the flawed or lawless guidance of a previous administration instead of the actual laws passed by Congress.”
Clarke told CMC that “the public charge rule means law-abiding immigrants will be put in an impossible position, having to forfeit health care, nutrition and housing programs in order to get a green card or receive other lawful status.
“Every single one of us has needed help from somebody else at some point in our lives, and this administration has lost sight of this fact with this compassionless public charge rule publication,” she said.