A federal court in New York on Wednesday blocked the new public charge rule of the Donald Trump government until the end of the public health emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Federal District Judge George Daniels ruled that states and nonprofits that challenged the new rule, which went into effect on February 24 and allows the government to deny residency to those who likely need public benefits, have provided “ample evidence” that policy discourages immigrants from trying to get tested for covid-19, a situation that could threaten efforts to stop the spread of the disease.

“As a direct result of the rule, immigrants are forced to make an impossible choice between jeopardizing public health and personal safety or their immigration status,” wrote Judge Daniels.

The judge also found that the efforts of the Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to address these concerns were “clearly insufficient,” the site reported. Law360.

The lawsuit against the new public charge rule is known as the New York State et al. v. US Department of Homeland Security (Case number 1: 19-cv-07777) and was aired in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

These are the benefits that will be affected (and those that will not) with the public charge rule

Humanitarian response

“Judge Daniels’ ruling means that the federal government must take into account what is happening in the country with this pandemic,” said Alex Gálvez, an immigration lawyer who practices in Los Angeles (California).

“People who ask for help under a pandemic should not punish them and deny them residence”he added. “If they really need it, they should look for it without fear,” he said.

Gálvez also said that “but that does not mean that they can abuse the aid that exists. At least for now children should not stay at home but ask for help if they need it and require medical examinations. “

“The judge recognizes that the law must be humanely implemented and that there are always or should be exceptions. First is the family, “said the lawyer.

Failure details

The lawsuit was filed against the federal government asking that the implementation of the public charge rule be suspended taking into account the health crisis created by covid-19.

The New York District Court in this case found that a suspension of the rule is deserved because of the health crisis, indicating that the rule discourages immigrants from seeking medical examinations and treatments for covid-19, which prevents efforts to control the spread of the virus.

The court acknowledged the argument and evidence presented showing that immigrants have not signed up for Medicaid or other public health care for fear of being considered a “public charge” for immigration purposes. Therefore, it ordered that the public charge rule cannot be implemented while the country continues under a national health emergency. The order applies nationwide.

What is the rule about

The final rule of public charge, which was published on August 14 of last year in the Federal Register (American official newspaper) modified the regulations of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and describes the way in which this federal agency will determine if a person applying for admission to the United States or adjustment of status (green card) “is inadmissible”, either because it is, or is likely at any time “to become a public charge.”

But not all foreigners will be affected, warns the Ombudsman of the Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). “The final rule exempts certain people, such as” U “and” T “visa holders, asylees, refugees, and other categories.”

Activists who defend the rights of immigrants point out that the lack of information, and the uncertainty generated after the first government announcement, has had an impact on the community, and they denounce that many foreigners with American children have been removed from programs for which they legally qualify for fear of being affected in future legalization procedures.

The final rule was to go into effect on October 16, 2019, but hours earlier a federal court halted its implementation. However, on January 27 of this year, the Supreme Court issued a decision that had the effect of lifting all the requirements of the Final Rule, with the exception of Illinois.