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New York sues Trump administration over 'public charge' immigration rule

Key Points
  • New York Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday said the state is suing the Trump administration over its "public charge" immigration rule.
  • This comes after several advocacy groups filed a lawsuit last Friday to block the rule, which would make it harder for legal immigrants to stay in the country.
  • Thirteen states, led by Washington Attorney General Robert Ferguson, also filed a lawsuit last Wednesday for the rule that would deny entry or green cards to legal immigrants based on their use of public benefits such as food stamps, housing assistance and Medicaid.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James makes an announcement regarding U.S. President Trump's public charge rule during a news conference in New York, August 20, 2019.
Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday said the state is suing the Trump administration over its "public charge" immigration rule.

This comes after several advocacy groups filed a lawsuit last Friday to block the rule, which would make it harder for legal immigrants to stay in the country.

Thirteen states, led by Washington Attorney General Robert Ferguson, also filed a lawsuit last Wednesday for the rule that would deny entry or green cards to legal immigrants based on their use of public benefits such as food stamps, housing assistance and Medicaid. A separate lawsuit was filed by the state of California on Friday.

The suit is joined by the city of New York, Connecticut and Vermont and was filed in the Southern District of New York, challenging the Trump administration's attempt to target immigrants of color.

"The Trump Administration's thinly veiled efforts to only allow those who meet their narrow ethnic, racial and economic criteria to enter our nation is a clear violation of our laws and our values," James said in a news release. "Under this rule, more children will go hungry, more families will go without medical care and more people will be living in the shadows and on the streets."

In the suit, the coalition argues that the Department of Homeland Security's public charge definition "disregards clear congressional intent" and "weaponizes" the public charge inquiry to specifically target immigrants of color, immigrants with disabilities and low-income immigrants, according to the press release.

Legal immigrants with household income, assets and resources, will have a higher chance of obtaining a green card or citizenship, according to a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services fact sheet.

Wealth, education, age and English proficiency will also factor in determining whether someone is granted a green card or U.S. citizenship, according to the fact sheet, which can disproportionately impact low-income immigrants.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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