Colombian Born Lucrecia Arbelaez and other candidates take the oath of allegiance to become US citizens during a Naturalization Ceremony for new US citizens at the City Hall of Jersey City, New Jersey on February 22, 2017.
Kena Betancur | AFP | Getty Images
Several advocacy groups filed a lawsuit Friday to block the Trump administration’s recently finalized “public charge” rule, which would make it harder for legal immigrants to stay in the country.
The National Immigration Law Center, Western Center on Law and Poverty, National Health Law Program and Asian Americans Advancing Justice filed the complaint in a California federal court.
The administration’s new rule redefines what it means to be a “public charge” and would be applied to people primarily dependent on government assistance such as food stamps, Medicaid and housing assistance.
Legal immigrants who use one or more of these public benefits for more than 12 months in any 36-month period would be defined as a “public charge,” which would make it more difficult for them to secure citizenship.
“This rule change is a direct attack on communities of color and their families, and furthers this administration’s desire to make this country work primarily for the wealthy and white,” said Antionette Dozier, senior attorney at the Western Center on Law and Poverty. “Our immigration system cannot be based on the racial animosities of this administration, or whether or not people are wealthy.”
Kenneth Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said Monday that the administration revised the public charge inadmissibility rule to ensure immigrants are “self-sufficient” instead of relying on public resources.
Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said Friday, “These legal violations are part of the Trump administration’s playbook which we are so familiar with. Today we … ask the federal court in the Northern District of California to block the administration from implementing this racially motivated rule and strike it down as unlawful and unconstitutional.”