As one of its latest attempts to limit eligibility for public benefits for legal immigrants, the Trump Administration recently announced a new hurdle for prospective immigrants. Under the new rule, immigrants will not qualify for family-based immigration visas unless they can show proof that they will have insurance coverage within 30 days of coming to the U.S. Alternatively, they can show evidence that they have sufficient funds to pay for their medical needs. Immigrants can purchase qualifying insurance policies through their employers or individually, but they cannot use Medicaid or subsidized policies purchased using the Affordable Care Act.
The Associated Press is reporting that in response to this new rule, seven U.S. citizens filed suit in Portland, Oregon, against the federal government with the assistance of the Justice Action Center, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Innovation Law Lab. All these citizens are seeking to bring family members to the U.S., including some trying to bring their foreign spouses to live with them.
The rule provides no standards about the amount of money or the type of proof that immigrants must show to prove that they can afford to pay for their medical care. As a result, the plaintiffs claim that the rule would block almost two-thirds of all prospective immigrants from coming to the U.S. In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs also contend that the policy would drastically reduce or even eliminate the family-based immigration system as it currently exists.
Other efforts by the Trump Administration to limit the use of public benefits by legal immigrants have run into roadblocks as courts have blocked those rules from going into effect. Nonetheless, the Trump Administration continues to seek other ways to achieve its goal of moving the current family-based legal immigration system to a merit-based immigration system.
This rule had met a similar fate as the other rules involved in ongoing litigation by early November. U.S. District Judge Michael Simon granted a nationwide temporary restraining order that prevented the rule from going into effect on November 3, 2019. In his ruling, Simon found that the Trump Administration likely had overstepped its executive authority in issuing the rule because it conflicts with the Immigration and Nationality Act in determining which immigrants are eligible to apply for available visas.
The immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the immigration cases of countless individuals and businesses facing immigration-related issues. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf to get the outcome that you are seeking. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our immigration attorneys.