- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 29, 2020

A federal judge issued an injunction Wednesday blocking the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule aimed at making immigrants self-sufficient, ruling it would not be safe to try to punish migrants for using welfare or other benefits during the coronavirus pandemic.

Judge George B. Daniels, a Clinton appointee to the Southern District of New York, said he also has broader questions about whether the rule makes sense at any time, given the chances for future plagues, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods and other disasters.

“The rule has demonstrably failed the first real world test of its application,” he wrote in his ruling.

He issued a nationwide blockade.

“This victory will immediately halt the Trump Administration’s discriminatory rule from continuing to hurt every person across the nation,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James, who had been part of the lawsuit opposing the policy.

The public charge rule is one of President Trump’s marquee efforts to try to change the legal immigration system.

It does not block anyone from obtaining benefits they are legally able to access — but it does say that if they later apply for a green card, their history of relying on the public dole can be held against them and may contribute to a denial.

Public charge rules have been part of federal law dating back to the 1800s. They were updated in the 1990s under the Clinton administration, which approved a few narrow categories of cash welfare that it said immigrants should avoid.

The Trump administration’s new rule expanded those categories to include non-cash programs such as Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor.

Opponents argued that amid the pandemic, discouraging people from using health services.

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