NY attorney general claims ‘major victory’ for Caribbean nationals seeking to enter US

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NEW YORK, United States (CMC) — New York Attorney General Letitia James late Wednesday claimed “a major victory” against the Trump Administration blocking the president’s efforts to further restrict the approval of visas for Caribbean and other immigrants seeking to enter the United States.

A US federal court granted a motion for a preliminary injunction supported by James to stop the Trump Administration’s rules that aim to deny green cards and visas to Caribbean and other immigrants who are likely to use government assistance programmes in the future.

In February, James co-led a coalition of 22 attorneys general across America, as well a handful of local municipalities, in filing an amicus brief in federal court supporting the request for an immediate halt to the implementation of the new Trump Administration rules.

“Despite the Trump Administration’s repeated attempts to discriminate against those who don’t have the financial means to buy their way into this country, the court yesterday, came down on the side of justice and equality,” James said.

“Immigrants of all financial backgrounds make great contributions to this nation, and despite the president’s continued assaults on these groups, we will never stop fighting to protect them,” she added.

One of the rules that is the subject of Wednesday’s preliminary injunction would deny green cards and visas to those who cannot guarantee that they will either have certain types of private health insurance within 30 days of arriving in the United States or, alternatively, have the means to pay for any foreseeable medical costs that may arise during their time in the United States.

The other rules that the district court preliminarily halted would have changed the established meaning of public charge for immigrants seeking to enter the United States.

In April, James led a coalition of attorneys general in three states and New York City in filing a motion asking a United States district court to temporarily halt implementation of the Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule that impacts Caribbean and other immigrants in light of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) public health crisis.

James and the attorneys general of Connecticut and Vermont, as well as corporation counsel for New York City, filed a motion seeking a new preliminary injunction with the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The US Supreme Court, the highest court in America, had chosen not to act in the matter, but ruled that the plaintiffs had the option to take their argument back to the lower court for a decision.

“Unlike the Public Charge Rule, this disease does not discriminate — infecting both citizens and non-citizens alike,” James said. “As our state and nation continue to suffer the devastating effects of COVID-19, it has become more and more clear that the Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule will only further exacerbate the problem and punish New York and other immigrant-rich states by denying many the ability to obtain health care.

“We’re asking the district court to again take immediate action and suspend this rule and the threat it places on all of us,” she added. “It’s time to end this national nightmare because every person who doesn’t get the health coverage they need today risks infecting another person with the coronavirus tomorrow.”

James said US federal law allows lawful Caribbean and other immigrants to apply for certain supplemental health and nutritional public benefits if they have been in the country for at least five years.

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