Oct. 11 (UPI) — A New York-based federal judge on Friday issued a temporary injunction against the Trump administration’s plan to implement new rules denying migrants citizenship if they use public welfare.
U.S. District Judge George Daniels blocked the plan from taking effect Tuesday as scheduled.
Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, announced the enforcement of the so-called “public charge” rule in August. He said the final rule will enforce a 1996 order that says immigration officials can take into account whether migrants applying for green cards have ever used taxpayer-funded public assistance.
Connecticut, New York and Vermont, as well as New York City and five activist organizations that benefit migrants sued the Trump administration to halt the implementation of the rule. Daniels said he ordered the injunction because the plaintiffs are likely to succeed in their lawsuit.
“The balance of equities and the interests of justice favor issuance of a preliminary injunction,” he wrote.
New York Attorney General Letitia James welcomed the injunction.
“The history of our nation is inextricably tied to our immigrant communities, and because of today’s decision, so too will be our future,” she said. “Once again, the courts have thwarted the Trump Administration’s attempts to enact rules that violate both our laws and our values, sending a loud and clear message that they cannot rewrite our story to meet their agenda.
“This rule would have had devastating impacts on all New Yorkers — citizens and non-citizens alike — and today’s decision is a critical step in our efforts to uphold the rule of law. As long as our communities are under attack from this federal government, we will never stop fighting back.”
The National Immigration Law Center, one of the plaintiffs, said the ruling means migrants should continue to use services for which they are eligible without fear.
Cuccinelli said self-sufficiency has been part of the American immigrant story for more than 140 years, and the rule gives it greater weight — along with a host of other factors. He said self-sufficiency, however, will not be the determining factor.
With the change, immigration officials could also take into account an applicant’s financial resources, health, education, skills, family status and age, when determining their legal status.
Cuccinelli said the new rule would affect about 400,000 immigrants each year — and won’t affect those now seeking asylum in the United States. It also cannot supersede any action by Congress.