NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. federal judge in New York on Friday temporarily blocked a Trump administration rule that would deny permanent residency to certain aspiring immigrants deemed likely to require government assistance in the future.
The rule, which was finalized in August, vastly expanded who could be considered a possible “public charge” from someone who would be primarily dependent on the government to someone who might at some point need government help such as food stamps or housing vouchers.
The Department of Homeland Security rule, pushed by Trump’s leading aide on immigration, Stephen Miller, was due to go into effect on Oct. 15. It will now be on hold while legal challenges against it proceed.
Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York, issued a nationwide block of the rule, writing that plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their claims and would suffer “irreparable harm” if the rule were to go into effect. He wrote the government had failed to demonstrate why the current approach was inadequate.
The rule, if it is ultimately allowed to go into effect, could be the most drastic of the Trump administration’s policies targeting the legal immigration system, experts have said. The government has argued the rule is necessary to better ensure that immigrants will be self-sufficient.
“The public charge standard was never intended to exclude working class immigrants from developing countries,” said Charles Wheeler, an attorney with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, which is a plaintiff in the case. “This ruling confirms that the American dream remains open to them.”
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel, Daniel Trotta and Kristina CookeEditing by Chris Reese and Cynthia Osterman