California Judges Block Trump Rule that Immigrants Must Have Health Insurance

A Border Patrol agent, back left, and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent, right, o
Veronica G. Cardenas/AP Photo

A three-judge panel in California has blocked President Donald Trump’s October 2019 immigration reform that requires that would-be legal immigrants be able to pay for their own healthcare costs.

The nationwide legal block — a “stay” — will allow the continued entry of legal immigrants who cannot cover the cost of treatment during the coronavirus epidemic. One million legal immigrants are admitted each year, regardless of the economic impact on taxpayers, home buyers, and unemployed Americans.

But the block may be lifted if the administration can get a reversal from other judges in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court.

Even if the stay is not removed, the judges have yet to decide if Trump’s October policy is valid. So far, Trump’s lawyers have won numerous legal battles against lawsuits funded by pro-migration Democrats and business groups. But if Trump loses the 2020 election, a Democrat president would dismantle the reform, even if the Supreme Court approves it.

Trump’s October reform said:

While our healthcare system grapples with the challenges caused by uncompensated care, the United States Government is making the problem worse by admitting thousands of aliens who have not demonstrated any ability to pay for their healthcare costs.  Notably, data show that lawful immigrants are about three times more likely than United States citizens to lack health insurance.  Immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our healthcare system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs.

But “the government has not established the requisite irreparable harm necessary to justify a stay pending appeal,” said the May 4 decision by two of three judges on the California panel. The Doe 1 v. Trump decision continued:

[The government’s] rights may be vindicated upon completion of this litigation. The alleged monetary harms to third parties upon which the government relies do not constitute irreparable harm … Staying the injunction would injure both the plaintiff class and third parties, and the public interest weighs against entering a stay.

The third judge, Judge Daniel Bress, disagreed, saying:

Today’s decision is yet the latest example of our court allowing a universal injunction of a clearly constitutional Executive Branch immigration policy. This time, the President in Proclamation No. 9945 restrictions on the entry of immigrants who, in the President’s judgment, will unduly burden the American healthcare system. In what unfortunately has become standard operating procedure, the district court enjoined the Proclamation on a nationwide basis before it could take effect. While declining to endorse the district court’s central rationale, my fine colleagues in the majority find a way to justify the district court’s decision, while refusing to stay or limit its blanket injunction.

The case was filed by the pro-migration Justice Action Center and was backed by elite immigration lawyers, and amici statements from Democrat-run states that rely on cheap migrant labor, including California:

These amici explain that immigrants “are vital to the economic, civic, and social fabric of our states and city.” Indeed, the evidence in the record indicates that in 2014, immigrant-led households paid more than $26 billion in state and local taxes in California, and $736 million in state and local taxes in Oregon. Plaintiffs and amici provided further evidence … that the implementation of the Proclamation will interrupt family reunification, detrimentally affect job sectors that disproportionately employ immigrants, and increase the number of underinsured immigrants who will be prohibited from purchasing subsidized ACA insurance plans.

The judges also suggested that Trump cannot reduce immigration to help millions of Americans struggling to find new jobs in the coronavirus crash, as he announced on April 22.

Section 212(f) of the 1965 immigration law “does not provide the President with limitless power to deny visas to immigrants based on purely long-term economic concerns,” said the decision.

The Justice Action Center is also boosted by the, an advocacy group formed by wealthy West Coast investors, including multibillionaire Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates.


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