Judges in three US states have temporarily blocked a rule by the administration of President Donald Trump that would deny legal residency to immigrants deemed likely to require government assistance, as Trump’s immigration agenda faces more legal blockades in courts around the country.
Federal judges in New York, California and Washington State issued three separate injunctions that temporarily block the “public charge” rule, which would impose major obstacles to obtaining green cards for those may use government benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps and or housing aid.
The court rulings are likely to be swiftly appealed by the US Justice Department.
Pushed by Trump’s leading aide on immigration, Stephen Miller, the new immigration rule was due to go into effect on Tuesday. Experts say the rule is one of the most drastic of the Trump administration’s hardline anti-immigration policies.
Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York blocked the rule nationwide, finding that the government failed to provide “any reasonable explanation” for why the definition of public charge needed to be changed.
“It is repugnant to the American Dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upward mobility,” Daniels wrote in his court order.
Trump lost another ruling on Friday when a federal judge in the US state of Texas blocked emergency funding for construction of a border wall on the US-Mexico border.
Judge David Briones of the Western District of Texas granted an injunction against border wall funding beyond that appropriated by Congress. Trump announced earlier this year he would divert US military and drug interdiction funds toward construction of the wall.
The Trump administration has enacted a series of measures attempting to curb immigration, only to be blocked by court injunctions until the underlying lawsuits can be heard.
The Trump administration has nonetheless been able to introduce policies that restrict asylum, tighten requirements for skilled-work visas and slash the number of refugees the country will accept.
Immigration experts said the new immigration rules would disproportionately affect applicants from Africa and Latin America and could drastically change the composition of newcomers admitted to the United States.
Experts say the rules favor those who are educated and wealthy, more likely to hail from Europe than from the developing world.
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