Several organizations have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration in an effort to challenge new restrictions for green card seekers who may need government assistance to pay for food and health care.
The lawsuit claims that the rules discriminate against people who are generally self-reliant, but may be disqualified from getting a green card if they or their family members have received public assistance.
The suit seeks to block the State Department from moving forward with its public charge rules, and specifically singles out Trump’s October decree “Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System,” making it mandatory for green card applicants to have approved medical coverage or sufficient resources to pay for their medical costs out of pocket.
“It is the only lawsuit to date simultaneously challenging all three rules designed to prevent low-income intending immigrants of color from reunifying with their families and obtaining green cards: the two sets of public charge changes and the health proclamation,” said Susan Welber, a Legal Aid Society attorney.
“We seek to stop all three rules, in order to prevent the Trump administration from erecting an invisible, regulatory wall that would keep our clients from building a permanent life in the U.S. with their families.”
One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, identified as Carl Doe, was born in El Salvador, owns a flooring installation business and lives in a studio apartment in Queens, New York. The lawsuit said that he is likely to be considered a future public charge, a person likely to become permanently reliant on public assistance under standards adopted by the State Department.
“Although he would not have been deemed likely to become a public charge in the past, he now faces the risk of being unable to return to the U.S. as a result of the Consular Rules, subjecting him and his family to indefinite separation,” the lawsuit stated.
The plaintiff said he borrowed money to buy a van and supplies for his business. He said his family depends on his income, which was $20,000 last year.
Should he be barred from reentering the United States, the man said, “I’m going to lose everything I have worked for.”