The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an injunction on July 29, 2020 that stops the Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Department of State from implementing the new rules on public charge inadmissibility.
Since the earliest of immigration laws our government has been concern that immigrants might become a public charge, that is to go on public assistance. The law and regulations allowed immigration officers to apply fairness in their decisions. However, the Trump Administration took the intent of the law and created a set of high standards in August 2019. Applicants for immigrant visas and non-immigrants extending their stay in the United States had to not only show that they have not received benefits in the past but that they would not receive benefits in the future. A set of positive and negative factors were instituted and a long form that not only asked about the foreigner but also the public benefits, debt and status of every member of the foreigner's household. The form used for this purpose added many hours of extra time and required obtaining and submitting IRS tax transcripts and credit reports.
The judges reasoning for its decision is understandable. The effect of the rule was that foreign nationals would avoid seeking health care for COVID-19 because of the fear that medical care would make them ineligible for obtaining residence or extending their lawful temporary stays in the United States.
Perhaps equally surprising is that the Citizenship and Immigration Service response. The Trump Administration has in recent weeks has given a figurative middle finger to the Supreme Court of the United States and the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal which have issued separate orders requiring the Citizenship and Immigration Service to resume taking DACA applications for "Dreamers". In the case of the public charge rules the agency has issued a statement that it will not enforce the rule or require the new form at this time. (Maybe that is because the Citizenship and Immigration Service has run out of funds and desperately needs new applications to pay for its operations.)
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