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:

Go deeper: Immigrants sue for delayed naturalizations during coronavirus

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Medicaid enrollment projected to spike

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

States expect Medicaid enrollment to jump by 8.4% in fiscal year 2021, compared to 6.3% growth in fiscal year 2020, according to a new KFF brief. This growth is expected to be primarily driven by enrollment.

The big picture: The program is serving as a safety net for the millions of Americans who have lost access to their employer health insurance during the pandemic.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage" Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse.
  2. Health: Hospitals face a crush — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota cases traced to three Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Putin mandates face masks.

Louisiana braces for 3rd hurricane in 2 months as Tropical Storm Zeta nears

Municipality workers clean the streets of garbage in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on Tuesday that was left by Zeta, which struck the Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 1 Hurricane a day earlier — causing no major damage to infrastructure. Photo: Medios y Media/Getty Images

Tropical Storm Zeta is expected to strengthen back into a hurricane and bring dangerous storm surge conditions to parts of the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

The state of play: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) requested a pre-landfall Federal Declaration of Emergency in a letter to President Trump on Tuesday, ahead of the storm's expected arrival south of New Orleans.