New York, Connecticut and Vermont sue to block Trump’s public charge rule

Posted on 08/27/19

Last week’s announcement by the Trump administration on limiting pathways to citizenship
for certain immigrants has come to a crossroad with three northeastern states. Letitia James, New
York’s attorney general, announced that Connecticut, Vermont, and New York had filed a lawsuit
against the federal government and the agencies that would be enforcing the new rule that would
expand on the definition of “public charge.” Going in effect on October 15th, the new law can deem
any legal immigrant with a green card, visa, or other lawful immigration statuses as a “public charge” if they are enrolled in government assistance programs like food stamps and welfare. “Quite simply,
under this rule, more children will go hungry, more families will go without medical care, and more
people will be living in the shadows and on the streets. We cannot, and we will not let that happen,”
James said.

Late last year, a draft of the same rule was leaked, alerting thousands of immigrants. As a result
of the leak, many immigrants dropped out of government assistance programs or opted out of
receiving them even after qualifying. “Generations of citizens landed on the welcoming shores of Ellis
Island with nothing more than a dream in their pockets,” said James in a statement. “The Trump
administration’s thinly veiled efforts to only allow those who meet their narrow ethnic, racial, and
economic criteria to enter our nation is a clear violation of our laws and our values.”

The lawsuit filed by the three Northeastern states highlights that the rule discriminates against
certain groups of people and violates the equal protection rights under the United States Constitution.
According to the lawsuit, the Trump Administration is trying to limit the number of colored
immigrants in the United States. Instead, the administration prefers a whiter immigrant background.
The suit stated several occasions when the “Trump administration sought to isolate and exclude
Latino immigrants and other immigrants of color.” Limiting DACA and banning travel from
majority-Muslim countries and terminating “temporary immigration protections to people from
Nicaragua, Honduras, Haiti, and El Salvador.”

The Department of Homeland Security in past years defined “public charge” as someone who
depended on cash assistance or government-funded care, but the new rule expands the definition to
include additional benefits such as food stamps, non-emergency Medicaid, certain prescription drug
subsidies and housing vouchers. The Trump administration argues that broadening the meaning of
“public charge” helps ” protect American taxpayers ” and ensures “that noncitizens in this country are
self-sufficient and not a strain on public resources.”

Are you immigrating to the U.S.? Turn to an attorney who can help you navigate the process with
minimal complications. At the Law Offices of James A. Welcome, we know how to protect the rights
of undocumented immigrants in Connecticut.