Harmful public charge rule halted
This week, a U.S. District Court in New York issued injunctions against the Trump administration’s new public charge rule. One order is a temporary injunction that bars implementation of the Department of Homeland Security’s public charge regulation during the period of a declared national emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The other order is a preliminary injunction that bars implementation of a companion regulation on public charge indefinitely. As long as the New York district court’s injunctions remain in place, the public charge rule continues to be blocked nationwide.
The new public charge rule would penalize legal immigrant families for accessing the public supports that they are eligible for—such as access to housing, food and other services—by making it harder to apply for permanent residency later. The changes to the rule redefine who could be considered a “public charge” and limit immigration to those who pass a revised and expanded public charge test. The changes have the potential to impact 323,000 Coloradans, of whom 143,000 are children.
The judge wrote, “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 public 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. As a direct result of the rule, immigrants are forced to make an impossible choice between jeopardizing health and personal safety or their immigration status.”
And now, in the midst of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more critical than ever to ensure that families aren’t forced to make this impossible choice between access to health services and food security and keeping their families together.