Federal appeals court rules against the Trump administration's public charge rule

Federal appeals court rules against the Trump administration’s public charge rule

Originally Published in CNN

Priscilla Alvarez - December 2, 2020

(CNN) The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday ruled against the Trump administration's controversial "public charge" rule that critics say has a chilling effect on immigrants who may need to seek medical assistance, marking the latest blow against the regulation.

The rule makes it more difficult for immigrants to obtain legal status if they use public benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers. It immediately met pushback, and was subsequently blocked by courts, following its release.
In Wednesday's 2-1 ruling, the Ninth Circuit concluded that the rule causes financial harm to states and doesn't promote self-sufficiency as the administration has suggested. The panel also argued that the administration failed to explain the abrupt change in policy.
"Addressing DHS's contention that the statute's overall purpose is to promote self-sufficiency, the panel concluded that providing access to better health care, nutrition, and supplemental housing benefits is consistent with precisely that purpose," wrote Judge Mary M. Schroeder for the majority.
The "public charge" rule has bounced around courts nationwide, eventually rising to the Supreme Court, which allowed its implementation across the country earlier this year.
While that stay remains in place, the regulation has since continued to come up to federal appeals court. In August, the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the rule in three states -- Connecticut, New York and Vermont. The government's motion for a stay was later granted, allowing the administration to proceed implementing the rule.
USCIS spokesman Dan Hetlage told CNN in a statement following the ruling that "USCIS is currently reviewing the court order issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the agency has no other comment to provide at this time."
The Ninth Circuit narrowed a nationwide injunction put in place by a lower court, arguing that the "same issues regarding its validity have been and are being litigated in multiple federal district and circuit courts." It applies to the Ninth Circuit and other jurisdictions involved in the cases, including Maine, Oregon, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia, according to the California attorney general's office.
"As we continue to face an unprecedented economic and public health crisis, forcing hardworking families to choose between basic necessities and maintaining their immigration status is inhumane," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. "Attacking the health care of even one community is an attack on us all. Today's victory is critical, but the fight is not over. We won't let the Trump Administration's assault on our immigrant communities go unchecked."


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