Ken Cuccinelli, senior official performing the duties of the deputy secretary of Homeland Security, in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
A federal judge in New York on Wednesday blocked the Trump administration from denying permanent residency to immigrants who are likely to use public welfare programs during the coronavirus pandemic.
Why it matters: Judge George Daniels said that denying immigrants green cards as part the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services "public charge" rule could harm mitigation efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.
Context: The Immigration and Nationality Act allows the government to reject permanent residency to immigrants who are likely to be a "public charge" or depend on the government for support.
- However, the Trump administration in February altered the rule, allowing the government to deny green cards to people who would likely use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, housing vouchers and assistance, public housing or federally funded forms of Medicaid.
What they're saying: "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," Daniels wrote in his ruling.
- "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."
Of note: While the challenge was brought by New York, Connecticut and Vermont, Daniels held that the immigration rule should be halted nationwide.
- Axios has contacted the Trump administration for comment.
Read the full decision via DocumentCloud: