Federal judge blocks Trump administration rule targeting low-income immigrants

Judge George Daniels' Friday ruling came just days before the so-called

Judge George Daniels' Friday ruling came just days before the so-called"public charge rule was set to go into effect on Oct. 18

It also set a minimum household income threshold of 125 percent of the federal poverty level: $32,187 for a family of four. The judges ruled in favor of 21 states and the District of Columbia, which challenged the policy nearly immediately after it was announced in August.

"The Rule is simply a new agency policy of exclusion in search of a justification", Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of NY wrote in his ruling.

The policy, at least for now, has been blocked from going into effect.

"The rule is simply a new agency policy of exclusion in search of a justification", the judge wrote.

Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli said in August the administration was "reinforcing the ideals of our self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, ensuring that immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful here in America".

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham added that the rulings were "extremely disappointing" and "the latest inexplicable example of the administration being ordered to comply with the flawed or lawless guidance of a previous administration instead of the actual laws passed by Congress".

The policy is central to Trump's longtime goal to slash legal immigration and gear it more for people with employment skills instead of toward family members.

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Earlier this month, Trump issued a presidential proclamation that says immigrants will be barred from entering the country unless they are to be covered by health insurance within 30 days of entering or have enough financial resources to pay for any medical costs.

In California, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled that Trump administration officials "acted arbitrarily and capriciously during the legally-required process to implement the changes they propose" in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. Previously it applied to immigrants who would be primarily dependent on the government.

"Give me your exhausted your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge", he told NPR in August. Among the factors the officials would use is whether the applicant is already using public benefits like food stamps, housing subsidies and cash assistance.

The rule prompted concern among advocates who argued it would lead many immigrants - including those with children who are citizens - to forgo participating in a government safety net program because of fear that it could risk their green card status in the future. They consider it a betrayal of Emma Lazarus' words on the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your exhausted, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free".

The Trump administration's proposal, however, would substantially expand this centuries-old term by broadening the type and amount of benefits that count against immigrants seeking to stay or move to the U.S. James and different attorneys general sued in August to block the rule trade from taking perform.

Similar rulings were made in California and Washington state. The United States has long maintained rules blocking entry to immigrants on public charge grounds.

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