North Carolina readers might be interested to learn that 13 states have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s controversial new “public charge” rule, which denies green cards to immigrants who receive certain government benefits. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington on Aug. 14.
Under the new rule, which was announced on Aug. 12, immigrants who use most types of Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers and other government benefits could have their visa applications denied under the presumption that they are likely to need public benefits again in the future. The Trump administration claims the rule is meant to ensure that immigrants are self-sufficient. However, the lawsuit argues that the regulation illegally expands the definition of “public charge” and violates current federal immigration laws. Washington state is the lead state on the complaint, and it is joined by Virginia, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and Rhode Island. On Aug. 13, San Francisco and Santa Clara County in California filed a separate lawsuit challenging the rule. The National Immigration Law Center is also reportedly preparing to file a suit.
Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, has defended the new rule, claiming it “is well within the boundaries of the law.” He has also said that self-sufficiency is a key part of America’s “proud heritage.” However, critics of the rule say that it gives an unfair advantage to wealthy immigrants and clamps down on legal immigration.
Immigrants who plan to apply for a visa to enter or remain in the United States might want to work with an immigration attorney. An attorney may help an immigrant navigate America’s complex visa application process and represent his or her interests during all immigration hearings.