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US congresswoman welcomes court blocking public charge rule for immigrants

Saturday, October 12, 2019

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NEW YORK, United States (CMC) — Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke has welcomed temporary injunctions by US federal judges in three states blocking the Trump administration's rule against issuing green cards to immigrants who use public aid.

The rule was scheduled to go into effect on Tuesday.

“It's a great day for our democracy,” proclaimed Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, in an exclusive Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) interview late Friday. “This is a major win for immigrants.”

“I applaud the judges' injunction in standing up to yet another attempted xenophobic policy by Trump,” added the representative for the predominantly Caribbean 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York. “Hate and bigotry will not be tolerated in America.”

Clarke said the hardship on Caribbean and other families would have been “tremendous”.

“It would be a really public hardship,” she said. “People would not be able to feed their children, get proper health care, and it would put all of us at risk.”

The judges in New York, California and Washington on Friday issued the temporary injunctions against the public charge rule that would make it more difficult for Caribbean and other immigrants to get green cards if they appear to be needing public assistance, such as financial aid, healthcare, food stamps and housing assistance.

Several legislators and immigration advocates have filed legal challenges to Trump's “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” rule.

“The rule is simply a new agency policy of exclusion in search of a justification,” wrote Justice George B Daniels, of the Southern District of New York, stating that the plaintiffs – five organisations that work to aid Caribbean and other immigrants, as well as New York State, New York City, Connecticut and Vermont – are highly likely to be triumphant in their claims against the Trump administration.

“It is repugnant to the American Dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upward mobility,” added Justice Daniels about the public charge rule. “Immigrants have always come to this country seeking a better life for themselves and their posterity. With or without help, most succeed.”

District Justice Phyllis Hamilton of US District Court in California ruled that the Trump administration “acted arbitrarily and capriciously during the legally-required process to implement the changes they propose,” stating that it was in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

“It made no attempt, whatsoever, to investigate the type or magnitude of harm that would flow from the reality which it admittedly recognised would result – fewer people would be vaccinated,” she wrote.

US District Justice Rosanna Malouf Peterson in Washington ruled that the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had failed to cite any statute, legislative history or other resource that “supports the interpretation that Congress has delegated to DHS the authority to expand the definition of who is inadmissible as a public charge or to define what benefits undermine, rather than to promote, the stated goal of achieving self-sufficiency.”

In response, the White House expressed disappointment, saying, in a statement, that the rulings “prevent our nation's immigration officers from ensuring that immigrants seeking entry to the United States will be self-sufficient and instead allow non-citizens to continue taking advantage of our generous but limited public resources reserved for vulnerable Americans.

“These injunctions are 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,” it said.


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