Following the administration’s announcement of the new program in August, several groups across the country commenced legal actions against the administration alleging that the new rule was unconstitutional. Federal judges in three states- New York, California and Washington – felt that temporary injunctions should be issued until a full hearing is held. In issuing the temporary restraining orders, each judge had to be under the opinion that the organizations were likely to succeed in their claims against the Trump administration.
Judge George B. Daniels of the Southern District of New York wrote in his decision: “It is repugnant to the American Dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upward mobility. Immigrants have always come to this country seeking a better life for themselves and their posterity. With or without help, most succeed." The case before Judge Daniels was brought by several organizations who argued that the new policy discriminates against low-income immigrants and immigrants of color by imposing tough new standards on those seeking legal residency in the United States.
An action in California was also brought under the theory that the administration’s implementation of the policy would run counter to the United States’ Administrative Procedure Act. U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton wrote in her decision that the administration “acted arbitrarily and capriciously during the legally-required process to implement the changes they propose." She further noted that the administration failed to consider many issues surrounding the policy such as the costs to local and state governments and potential public-health consequences.
Lastly, an action in Washington D.C. was also successful in obtaining a temporary restraining order blocking the implementation of the policy. The action in Washington D.C. was brought under the theory that the Department of Homeland Security was not delegated the power to implement the rule change in the first place. U.S. District Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson stated that DHS had “not cited any statute, legislative history, or other resource that supports the interpretation that Congress has delegated to DHS the authority to expand the definition of who is inadmissible as a public charge or to define what benefits undermine, rather than to promote, the stated goal of achieving self-sufficiency."
While the administration immediately issued a statement claiming that they were disappointed in the decisions, the three decisions mark an important first step to getting the public charge rule thrown out in its entirety. Seeing as the three injunctions were granted on three separate theories bodes well for the organizations who are seeking to have the rule denied in its entirety.
Immigration law – especially under the current administration – is constantly changing. Because of that, it is important to seek advice from an attorney that is experienced in analyzing immigration law. The lawyers at Bretz & Coven, LLP are experienced in handling various immigration matters, including family member petitions. For more information or to schedule a consultation
at our New York City or New Jersey law office, call (212) 267-2555.