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Attorney General William Tong



Attorney General William Tong today filed a motion to seek a preliminary injunction to stop the Trump Administration’s public charge rule from taking effect on Oct. 15 of this year. The public charge rule aims to deny entry, green cards, and visas to immigrants who have used or are deemed likely to use certain government assistance programs.

The motion argues that the rule would irreparably harm millions of legally-present noncitizens and their family members by deterring them from accessing public benefits they are lawfully entitled to receive – including nutrition assistance (SNAP, or food stamps) Medicaid, and Section 8 housing vouchers. The cost of assisting these legal immigrants with food and housing will fall back on the state of Connecticut, resulting in serious economic and public health damage.

For more than a century, Congress and the courts have made clear that immigrants who use basic public benefits can only be penalized as "public charges" if they are primarily dependent on the government. For all that time immigrants with limited means have used temporary public assistance as a way of moving out of poverty and living the American dream. The motion argues that the Trump Administration cannot unilaterally turn that long and proud tradition on its head.

"The public charge rule has instilled fear and chaos in Connecticut's immigrant communities. If the Trump Administration is not stopped, nearly 200,000 people in Connecticut will be harmed and their access to basic human needs like health care, food and housing will be jeopardized. This is needlessly cruel and heartless and we are doing everything we can to stop this attack on immigrant families," said Attorney General Tong.

The initial lawsuit, filed in August 2019 in the Southern District of New York, is led by New York Attorney General Letitia James and includes the States of Connecticut and Vermont and the City of New York.

The suit is filed against the backdrop of more than two years of Trump Administration policies and public statements that specifically and intentionally target immigrants of color. If allowed to take effect, the public charge rule would disproportionately hurt immigrants of color, immigrants with disabilities, and low-income immigrants.
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