PUBLIC CHARGE WIN: COURT ISSUES NATIONWIDE INJUNCTION AGAINST RULE—ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG, GOVERNOR LAMONT ISSUE STATEMENTS
(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong and Governor Ned Lamont released the following statements today after a federal judge in New York issued a nationwide injunction blocking implementation of the Trump administration’s new Public Charge Rule.
"The new public charge rule is a cruel attempt to vilify immigrants and drive families underground. This scheme sought to scare legal immigrants and their families away from seeking access to medical care, healthy food, and safe housing. The Court saw this plan for what it is—an unlawful and arbitrary overreach of federal authority that would cause irreparable harm to the people of our state. This nationwide injunction is a major victory, but it only a first step in this process. The Court found that we have a likelihood of succeeding on the merits of our claims, and we intend to continue to prove that case to prevent this cruel and heartless proposal from ever becoming a reality," said Attorney General Tong.
Governor Lamont said, “This new rule targets vulnerable immigrant families who are legally pursuing the American dream and forces them to forgo public services in order to stay on the path to citizenship. This cruel policy will cause many eligible and needy families – including children and U.S. citizens – to go without essential food, housing, and medical services. When families lack housing and medical care, when children go to school hungry, when parents go to work sick, all of our Connecticut communities pay the price.”
If the rule takes effect, nearly 200,000 Connecticut residents could lose access to basic services including food assistance (SNAP, or food stamps) Medicaid, and Section 8 housing vouchers. The cost of assisting these legal immigrants and their families with food and housing would fall back on the state of Connecticut, resulting in serious economic and public health damage.
In August, Connecticut joined New York, Vermont and the City of New York in suing the Trump Administration over its Public Charge rule that seeks to deny green cards and visas to immigrants that have used or are deemed likely to use government assistance programs. Such a rule would cause immediate and long-term harm to public health and our economy, with particular harm to communities of color and people with disabilities. The suit, filed in the Southern District of New York is led by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
In the suit, the coalition argues that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) new public charge definition disregards clear congressional intent, and a century’s worth of case law holding that immigrants who use basic, non-cash benefits are not considered public charges because they are not primarily dependent on the government. Additionally, the public charge rule weaponizes the public charge inquiry to specifically target immigrants of color, immigrants with disabilities, and low-income immigrants. Finally, the rule fundamentally misunderstands that these non-cash programs are designed to help immigrants who arrive in this country with limited means move out of poverty and achieve upward mobility.