trump administration blocked

“Repugnant” New Trump Regulation for Poor Immigrants Blocked by Federal Judge

Last Friday, a federal judge blocked a new rule by the Trump administration, due to be implemented this week, which would have refused permanent residence to low-income migrants living in the US.

A prompt injunction by New York City’s District Judge George Daniels halted the rule, which was set to prevent around half a million legal migrants living in the US with work, spouse and business visas, from getting a Green Card. This card allows migrants to settle permanently in the US, as long as they have fulfilled certain requirements like residency, good behaviour and abiding by the conditions of their visa.

According to the new rule, Green Card applicants who were on a lower income would be denied their citizenship, based on a higher probability that they may need access to public funds in the future.

Representatives from the Trump administration described the new law as essential, as it would help to “weed out” migrants who would “take advantage of US taxpayers”.

…the rule […] was set to prevent around half a million legal migrants living in the US…

More than ten lawsuits were filed against the Trump administration in an effort to stop the rule from being pushed through.

Daniel’s decision on Friday came as a great relief to many human rights and judicial figures, including New York State Attorney General Letitia James, who led the lawsuit that led to the ruling.

“This rule would have had devastating impacts on New Yorkers”, she wrote on Facebook, “and today’s decision is a critical step in our efforts to uphold the rule of law”.

Leticia James celebrates becoming the first black Attorney General, June 2018
Image credit: http://amsterdamnews.com/news/2018/nov/06/letitia-james-makes-history-new-york-states-first-/

As part of the same initiative, Trump also signed a proclamation earlier this month which requires all migrants to show that they have health insurance or the ability to pay for healthcare for at least 30 days after they enter the country.

“Healthcare providers and taxpayers bear substantial costs in paying for medical expenses incurred by people who lack health insurance or the ability to pay for their healthcare,” Trump wrote in the proclamation. “Immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our healthcare system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs.”

The ruling overturned on Friday would have focussed on the “public charge” section of citizenship law being made stricter. This section means that those who would be likely to be a burden to the US public in the future could be denied permanent residence on these grounds. When it was first introduced 140 years ago the rule meant that a “convict, lunatic, idiot or any person unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge” could be refused entrance into the US.

More than ten lawsuits were filed against the Trump administration in an effort to stop the rule from being pushed through.

Trump’s efforts were set to make the “public charge ” section of the US citizenship application even harsher by not allowing those that earn under $25,750 a year (per family of four) to be eligible for permanent residence, despite the fact many applicants are already refused on the public charge basis.

 Under President Bill Clinton, migrants were denied Green Cards routinely. In his final year in office (2000) his administration turned down 46,450 applications for US permanent residence based on the public charge rule.

If Trump’s new rule were to be rolled-out, this number would be even higher, with lower-income workers, business-owners, and partners of Americans being refused perminent residence in the US.

Juliana Macedo do Nascimento, who founded United We Deam, a coalition of young immigrants who advocate for protection from deportation said the ruling shows how discriminative the Trump administration’s stance on immigration is – that it wants to block immigrants of colour while opening the door to wealthier and whiter immigrants.

“That’s what this rule is about — it’s about keeping what they consider to be the wrong kinds of immigrants out,” Nascimento said.

This stance is indeed evident in many of Trump’s policies. While vulnerable asylum-seekers and refugees of colour (particularly those from Central and South America) are largely refused safety in the US and threatened with hostile measures, elite businessmen from Canada, Australia, and the UK are granted fast-track access to citizenship.

…the ruling shows how discriminative the Trump administration’s stance on immigration is…

Classism and racism clearly underline the Trump administration’s approach to immigration policy; luckily, in this case, these stances have not been allowed to be put into practice.  

Image credit: https://artsakhpress.am/eng/news/103110/trump-annoyed-by-a-trio-of-republican-senators-during-dinner.html

Written by
Luna Williams