Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Trump Administration’s attempt to implement its Public Charge rule on October 15 (Today) has been blocked by a nationwide preliminary injunction.

The decision comes from Judge George B. Daniels of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York. As the decision notes, a preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary remedy” only granted if a party can establish “…that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest.” (Winter v Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc, 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008).)
What’s the Public Charge rule? The Trump Administration has sought to deny green cards or visas to immigrants if they have used certain government aid programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, or housing assistance. For decades, only the use of cash assistance or nursing home care would define a person as a “public charge.” The Administration’s harsh broadening of the criteria has been opposed through hundreds of thousands of public comments and by court suits including the one brought to the NY court by the city and state of New York, and states of Connecticut and Vermont.
Many organizations, including CLIP and its partners, opposed the regulations, seeing their harmful chilling effect among families with immigrants afraid to make use of benefits not even affected by the rule. The Administration ignored more than a quarter of a million comments and was going to push ahead, but is at least temporarily stopped by Judge Daniels’ ruling, which called the Trump policy arbitrary and capricious, contrary to the long-standing definition of public charge, and contrary to congressional intent. To quote Judge Daniels’ opinion: “It is repugnant to the American Dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upward mobility.”
There will of course be more coming out about this. Additional national and state-specific injunctions have been issued. You’ll be reading more soon. But we all should feel relief that the harm has been at least stalled and the rule of law has been asserted. And we should all be grateful to the legal teams and advocates who have made the current and future harms so clear.
Thanks, especially, to the Coalition on Human Needs and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, for their tireless work opposing this draconian proposal.