A federal judge in Illinois blocked Trump Administration officials from limiting legal immigration with a wealth test on green card petitions.
Judge Gary Feinerman of the U.S. District Court in Chicago blocked the so-called “public charge” rule issued by the Department of Homeland Security in 2019 on a nationwide level. The rule gave U.S. Immigration officials the ability to reject a green card applicant if they determined the applicant would seek or rely on public benefits like food stamps, housing vouchers, or Medicaid.
According to NPR, The Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and Cook County, which includes Chicago, sued the Trump Administration last September in an attempt to block the rule, but the U.S. Supreme Court put the rule into effect in January. Feinerman, however, said the rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act, which oversees the process federal agencies use to develop and issue regulations.
Under the administration’s rule, people seeking public benefit would be considered a public charge, meaning the individual or family would be a burden or dependent on the country. Cook County and the ICIRR argued the term was ambiguous.
The Trump Administration argued the rule would eliminate applicants who are unable to fend for themselves and the test would be minimal, subjecting only about 383,000 people to the test annually. However, the Center For American Progress said the test would directly apply to roughly 900,000 immigrants and 176 million nonimmigrants each year. The group also said most of the people at risk of being denied a green card or other visas under the rule have never received public benefits in the U.S.
One of the key components of Trump’s appeal to Republicans was an assault on immigrants. Trump promised to rebuild and extend the border wall, has made asylum seekers wait in Mexico, which has led to refugee camps on the U.S.-Mexico border, has banned citizens from a number of Muslim countries from entering the country, and has separated families and children who are caught crossing the border without authorization.