An unelected federal Judge from NY has decided the Trump administration's new "public charge" rule won't go into effect on Tuesday, Oct. 15th, as previously scheduled.
According to one study, talk of the rule, along with confusion over which benefits will be consider, has prompted some immigrant families - including US citizens - to avoid or drop food, medical and housing government benefits out of fear that enrollment would jeopardize immigration petitions filed by family members.
Multiple lawsuits from states and from immigrants nationwide were in progress when Judge George B. Daniels of the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of NY made his ruling on Friday.
In his ruling, Daniels said Trump was redefining immigration rules that had stood since the late 1800s with a new framework that had "no logic".
The release of the rule came at least a year after White House adviser and immigration hardliner Stephen Miller pushed to expedite the policy.
The rule, which the administration announced this summer, is being challenged in several federal courts by immigrants' rights groups and more than a dozen state attorneys general. Other U.S. judges issued similar injunctions elsewhere on Friday, including the Eastern District of Washington and the Northern District of California.
The Trump administration argues that the rule is only clarifying existing law, saying it believes immigrants who want to stay in the USA should be able to support themselves and not rely on government aid.
Nearly simultaneously, a federal judge in California also blocked the policy from taking effect, but that order was more geographically limited to states involved in the case: California, Oregon, Maine, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. "It is repugnant to the American Dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upward mobility", he wrote.
Lawyers for Trump did not immediately return a request for comment.
Cuccinelli responded to the ruling by predicting that the administration would ultimately prevail, arguing that "an objective judiciary will see this rule lies squarely within long-held existing law".
Judge David Briones of the Western District of Texas granted an injunction against border wall funding beyond that appropriated by Congress.
The judge's order was not final as he asked the parties to submit further filings to be considered over the next 15 days. Immigrant advocates said this would disproportionately affect people from Latin American, African and Asian countries. The judge called the inclusion of English proficiency as a predictor of self-sufficiency "simply offensive".
The new regulation would take an expanded look at public services, to include Medicaid and food stamps, that would be used to test whether an immigrant would required taxpayer-funded assistance.
The Trump administration had proposed that immigrants be disqualified from getting legal USA residency if they were likely to become a burden on public welfare programs.
In January 2018, the State Department updated its foreign affairs manual, giving diplomats wider discretion in deciding visa denials on public-charge grounds.
The State Department a year ago expanded "public charge" considerations used by consular officers to grant or reject visa applications. New York State Attorney General Letitia James, who was part of the lawsuit, along with New York City and the states of Vermont and CT, welcomed the decision.