Appeals court keeps block of Trump immigration rule in place

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In this Jan. 31, 2019, file photo, hundreds of people overflow onto the sidewalk in a line snaking around the block outside a U.S. immigration office with numerous courtrooms in San Francisco. Federal judges are being asked to block a new Trump administration policy scheduled to take effect next week that would deny legal permanent residency to many immigrants over the use of public benefits. Almost a dozen lawsuits have been filed from New York to California to prevent the “public charge” rule from taking effect on Oct. 15. Judges have indicated a willingness to issue rulings before the scheduled start date. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal appeals court in New York on Wednesday rejected a motion from the Trump administration that would have allowed it to implement a policy connecting the use of public benefits with whether immigrants could become permanent residents.

The ruling from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the administration’s motion to lift a temporary national injunction that had been issued by a New York district court in October after lawsuits had been filed against the new policy.

The new rule would potentially deny green cards to immigrants over their use of public benefits including Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers, as well as other factors.

The New York injunction was one of several that were issued around the time the rule had been scheduled to go into effect in October.

But a regional injunction issued in California and another national injunction issued in Washington have already been lifted by other federal appeals courts. That left New York’s as the only nationwide bar to the Trump administration putting the new rule into practice. An injunction in Illinois also is in effect, but applies only to that state.

The three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit had heard arguments over the motion to lift the injunction on Tuesday.

Judges questioned the government’s attorney on the timing — why the injunction needed to be lifted at this point when the lawsuit itself would be heard by a judge in coming months.

Immigrants applying for permanent residency must show they wouldn’t be public charges, or burdens to the country.

The new policy significantly expands what factors would be considered to make that determination, and if it is decided that immigrants could potentially become public charges at any point in the future, that legal residency could be denied.

Roughly 544,000 people apply for green cards annually. According to the government, 382,000 are in categories that would make them subject to the new review.

Immigrants make up a small portion of those getting public benefits, since many are ineligible to get them because of their immigration status.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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