A federal judge issued an order Saturday blocking President Trump’s proclamation that would have ordered government screeners to refuse entry to would-be immigrants who can’t prove they have their own health insurance.
Judge Michael Simon, an Obama appointee to the federal bench, said Mr. Trump’s Oct. 4 directive likely exceeds the boundaries of immigration law.
He put a four-week hold on the policy to give himself more space to hear full legal arguments, but he made clear he thinks Mr. Trump went too far in his steps to try to prevent immigrants from becoming a public burden.
“Congress has spoken directly to the circumstances in which an individual may be deemed to become a “financial burden” to the United States and has rejected the proclamation’s core premise,” the judge wrote.
In addition to finding the thrust of the proclamation against the law, he also said the insurance standards the president set out are probably unworkable.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Latino Network, the Justice Action Center and the Innovation Law Lab brought the lawsuit on behalf of some migrants on Oct. 30, and didn’t ask for a temporary restraining order until Friday, just two days before the proclamation’s implementation date.
The Justice Department argued to Judge Simon that the groups waited until the last minute, and shouldn’t be entitled to a blockade.
Judge Simon rejected that, saying the delay wasn’t unreasonable “given the complexity of the factual and legal issues presented.”
The White House said the judge got it wrong.
“We strongly disagree with the district court’s decision to impose a nationwide injunction against the president’s policy on a preliminary, emergency basis over the weekend without even affording the government an opportunity to provide a written defense,” said press secretary Stephanie Grisham.
She said the Supreme Court, in last year’s travel ban ruling, had said the president deserved deference from the courts when he was exercising powers to deny admission by classes of migrants he deems not in the national interest.
In this case, Mr. Trump was acting to prevent damage to taxpayers.
“It is wrong and unfair for a single district court judge to thwart the policies that the president determined would best protect the United States healthcare system — and for the United States taxpayers to suffer the grave consequences of the immense strain inflicted on the healthcare system from subsidizing uncompensated care for those seeking admission,” Ms. Grisham said.