Federal judge blocks immigration rule

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Trump Administration’s public charge rule was supposed to take effect today.

It would deny legal status to some immigrants who have used public welfare benefits but federal judges around the country blocked it.

Acting Customs and Immigrations Director Ken Cuccinelli defends the administration’s “public charge” rule.

“This president has suffered more nationwide injunctions than any of his predecessors,” Cuccinellli said.

The rule says some immigrants who use or are likely to use public benefits for 12 months and some who lack English proficiency may be denied green cards or visas.

But a federal judge in New York ruled that Congress has never considered people who use benefits for just 12 months to be a public charge and that “it is simply offensive to contend that English proficiency is a valid predictor of self sufficiency.”

“It’s what you’d expect from a political activist,” Cuccinellli said.

Lawsuits challenging the rule argue that migrant families are disenrolling from public benefits out of fear, even if new rules wouldn’t actually apply to them.

“Effectively creates this narrative that immigrants are a drain on the economy,” Charanya Krishnaswami with Amnesty International said.

“When in fact we know that the opposite is true, that immigrants are a boon to the economy.”

Another federal judge in California said the rule failed to consider the cost to states, if for example people don’t enroll in Medicaid and get sick. But Cuccinelli says the rule complies with laws Congress passed and will be successful in court.

“I can’t think of a situation where we didn’t ultimately prevail.”

The case will likely end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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