Last week, U.S District Court judges in New York, California, and Washington issued temporary injunctions against the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule, effectively blocking it from taking effect yesterday. In August, the administration announced changes expanding the federal government’s ability to deny immigrants U.S. entry or adjustment to their legal permanent resident status (e.g., green card) if they are determined likely to become public charges. The new policy adds to the list of programs that may be considered for determining public charge status, including not only cash assistance and long-term care but also certain health care, nutrition, and housing programs.
The change in policy spurred lawsuits from multiple states challenging its validity and arguing that it discriminates against low-income people and people of color. The district court judges who issued injunctions last week cited various reasons for ruling against it, including that the Department of Homeland Security – which issued the new policy – does not have the authority to expand the definitions for public charge.
CHA President & CEO Carmela Coyle filed a declaration supporting the state of California’s lawsuit and explaining that the changes will impair access to care, affect health outcomes for entire families, and lead to a significant loss of health insurance coverage throughout the state.