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  • Migrant families from Honduras turn themselves to U.S. Border Patrol to seek asylum following an illegal crossing of the Rio Grande in Hidalgo, Texas, U.S., August 23, 2019.

    Migrant families from Honduras turn themselves to U.S. Border Patrol to seek asylum following an illegal crossing of the Rio Grande in Hidalgo, Texas, U.S., August 23, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 11 October 2019

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule, if ultimately allowed to take effect, could be the most drastic of the Trump administration’s hardline anti-immigration policies, experts say.

A United States federal judge in New York temporarily blocked a Trump administration rule that would deny residency to aspiring immigrants deemed likely to require government assistance, calling it “repugnant to the American Dream.”

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The rule, finalized in August, vastly expanded who could be considered a possible “public charge,” applying to anyone who might in the future need temporary government help such as food stamps, Medicaid or housing aid. Previously it applied to immigrants who would be primarily dependent on the government.

Pushed by Trump’s leading aide on immigration, Stephen Miller, the rule was due to go into effect on Tuesday.

But Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York blocked the rule nationwide on Friday, finding that the government failed to provide “any reasonable explanation” for why the definition of public charge needed to be changed. It will now be on hold while the underlying legal challenges proceed.

The suit was brought by the state of New York, one of nine legal challenges to the measures. Other U.S. judges issued similar injunctions elsewhere on Friday, including Washington, D.C. and California.

In California, U.S. Judge Phyllis Hamilton found “the plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits, for numerous reasons.”

In New York, Judge Daniels called the rule a “policy of exclusion in search of a justification.”

“It is repugnant to the American Dream of the opportunity for prosperity and success through hard work and upward mobility,” Daniels wrote. “Overnight, the Rule will expose individuals to economic insecurity, health instability, denial of their path to citizenship, and potential deportation.”

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