Federal judges in three states - New York, California and Washington - haveissued temporary injunctions against the Trump administration's "public charge" rule, preventing it from taking effect on October 15.
The controversial U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulation would give immigration caseworkers even more leeway to deny applications for green cards and visas filed by legal immigrants who use certain government benefits or whom authorities determine will rely on welfare programs in the future. "We hope it will ease the worries of our immigrant brothers and sisters who are fearful of using services to which they and their families have a right".
He went on to claim that the definition has "no support in the history of USA immigration law" and described the rule as "repugnant".
Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of NY, issued a nationwide block of the rule, writing that plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their claims and would suffer "irreparable harm" if the rule were to go into effect. "An objective judiciary will see that this rule lies squarely within long-held existing law", Cuccinelli said on Twitter.
Last September, the Trump administration announced that it would expand the definition of a "public charge", a term in use in immigration law since the 1800s that refers to any individual who is likely to primarily depend on the government for subsistence.
In California, US Judge Phyllis Hamilton found "the plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits, for numerous reasons".
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"It is repugnant to the American dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upward mobility", the judge added.
The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Make the Road New York was among the advocacy groups which, along with several states and cities, filed almost a dozen lawsuits challenging the rule after it was introduced previous year.
Judge Rosanna M. Peterson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington issued a similar injunction on the same day.
The court's ruling may not be the final word on this.
Miller called the proliferation of injunctions "intolerable".
"Today's ruling vindicates the Founders' wisdom and confirms that the president is not a king, and that he can not override Congress's power to decide how to appropriate funds", said Kristy Parker, a lawyer for Protect Democracy, a nonpartisan nonprofit that represented the plaintiffs. Immigrant advocates said this would disproportionately affect people from Latin American, African and Asian countries. Noting that the government counted English proficiency in its calculation of the likelihood of becoming a public charge, Daniels wrote that "It is simply offensive to content that English proficiency is a valid predictor of self-sufficiency".
"Overnight, the rule will expose individuals to economic insecurity, health instability, denial of their path to citizenship and potential deportation", Daniels wrote.