New York Judge Blocks ‘Public-Charge’ Rule, Again
U.S. District Judge George Daniels clearly has a thing about the Trump administration’s public charge rule for immigrants.
For the second time in less than a year, Daniels knocked down administration efforts to strengthen the rules. Though his judicial district is confined to Manhattan, Daniels’s decision will affect public charge policy nationally.
Under the revised definition, any non-U.S. citizen whoreceives government assistance such as food stamps, public housing vouchers,Medicaid or welfare payments for 12 months or more over a three-year period canbe considered a public charge ineligible for legal presence in the country.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) beganapplying the new rule in late February. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, theagency made an exception for people seeking medical help related to COVID-19.
That wasn’t nearly good enoughfor Judge Daniels.
In a spasm of expansive speculation, he opined,”There is a question of whether [the rule] should be applied to futuredeadly plagues, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or other naturaland manmade disasters that threaten the health and safety of citizens andimmigrants alike, through no fault of their own.”
Daniels then went back to block a 2018 State Departmentrule requiring foreigners applying for immigrant visas to have “approvedhealth insurance” to avoid a public charge designation. The micromanagingjudge objected, saying the government’s accepted insurance plans may “notactually provide comprehensive coverage.” Harrumph!
The Bill Clinton appointee attempted to halt the public charge rule last year, but the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the administration’s position in January. Daniels now asserts that coronavirus changed everything, providing the justification for his latest injunctions.
The judge’s “blistering decisions” were enthusiastically reported by National Public Radio and other like-minded news organizations. As FAIR observed about coverage of the public charge issue, mainstream media outlets lard their stories with comments from Democratic politicians, pro-illegal alien activists and ethnic advocacy groups to distort the administration’s position and all but dismiss the public interest.
Daniels’ ongoing campaign against public charge reformillustrates how one district judge can dictate (and muddle) U.S. immigrationpolicy. If, as Daniels contends, coronavirus is a national emergency thatdemands judicial intervention on public charge cases, the American publicshould expect higher courts to move expeditiously to affirm or reject hiscontentions.