Judge Blocks President Trump’s Public Charge Rule, Again

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 27: U.S. President Donald Trump listens while meeting with Fabiana Rosales, the wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, in the Oval Office of the White House March 27, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump and Rosales met to discuss recent developments in Venezuela.(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty …
Win McNamee/Getty Images

A New York judge blocked President Donald Trump’s “Public Charge” rule for would-be legal immigrants, saying it hinders national efforts to contain China’s coronavirus.

The government’s interest “in effectuating the rule fails to measure up to the gravity of this global pandemic that continues to threaten the lives and economic well-being of America’s residents,” said the July 29 declaration by U.S. District Judge George Daniels.

“No person should hesitate to seek medical care, nor should they endure punishment or penalty if they seek temporary financial aid as a result of the pandemic’s impact,” said Daniels, who is a graduate of Yale University and was nominated to the court by President Bill Clinton. He wrote:

Plaintiffs provide ample evidence that the Rule deters immigrants from seeking testing and treatment for COVID-19, which in turn impedes public efforts in the Governmental Plaintiffs’ jurisdictions to stem the spread of the disease. Doctors and other medical personnel, state and local officials, and staff at nonprofit organizations have all witnessed immigrants refusing to enroll in Medicaid or other publicly funded health coverage, or forgoing testing and treatment for COVID-19, out of fear that accepting such insurance or care will increase their risk of being labeled a “public charge.”

In January, the Supreme Court lifted a nationwide injunction imposed by Daniels. This latest injunction will likely be appealed.

The national injunction comes as Daniels oversees a lawsuit by several pro-migration groups against the Public Charge rule, which is intended to exclude migrants who cannot pay their way in the United States. The rule would deny green cards to people who need some forms of government aid, and so become a public charge.

Business groups strongly oppose the Public Charge rule because it is expected to reduce the inflow of new consumers, renters, and workers.

The rule has attracted intense opposition from lobbyists and politicians who are eager to blend investors’ economic goals with progressives’ support for immigrants. The public charge reform is a “wealth tax” for immigrants, said Todd Schulte, who runs the FWD.us advocacy group for wealthy investors, including Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. “The Trump administration’s changes to public charge are a backdoor effort to cut legal immigration, essentially creating a wealth test for individuals looking to come to the U.S. to contribute to our country and build a better life for themselves,” Schulte said via Twitter.

Business groups told judges in January they should reject the Public Charge rule because it will disadvantage employers and investors:

By hindering immigration—including the movement of highly-skilled immigrants—the Rule will slow economic growth, prevent businesses from expanding, and break faith with core American values. This is bad policy for American businesses and American taxpayers, and amici have a vital interest in ensuring that the Rule is properly held unlawful.

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