ORLANDO, Fla. — Immigration advocates say the fight against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's new public charge rule is not over after three federal judges blocked it on October 11.
- President Trump's "public charge" rule in limbo after being blocked
- Would affect immigrants who want to become permanent residents
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The rule would allow immigration officers to determine whether certain legal immigrants can become permanent residents, adjust status or re-enter the U.S. if they believe they are or will become a public charge — that includes enrolling in benefits like Medicaid, SNAP, or public housing.
It was set to go into effect Tuesday.
Here are five things you should know about the public charge rule, and how the fight over the rule is impacting immigrants and communities.
1. Impacting Communities
Father Jose Rodriguez of Iglesia Episcopal Jesus de Nazaret said the new public charge rule is already impacting his community. His church helps those in need, including immigrants.
"People are beginning to stay away from places that can help them services that can help them," Father Rodriguez said. “We’ve had people come in and say ‘I need help,’ then we offer them solutions and fewer and fewer people are taking advantage of the solutions being offered.”
2. Potential Loss of Health Care Coverage
Leighton Ku, Ph.D, a medical expert at George Washington University, said if the rule would go into effect the impact would be larger than expected. Ku determined between 1 and 3.2 million fewer immigrant families would receive Medicaid and the loss of coverage would result in 1,300 to 4,000 deaths.
3. Rule Blocked by Three Courts
Following several lawsuits, the rule was blocked by three different federal courts, with two of them blocking it nationwide until the courts can look at the new rule and make a decision.
"Whatever decision comes out of the lower federal courts would then be appealed to the circuit court and possibly go to the Supreme Court," said Gail Seeram, an immigration lawyer.
4. No New Rule Will Be Implemented October 15
While the Department of Homeland Security’s new public charge rule is contested in court, the U.S. Department of State published its own rule impacting immigrants applying for legal status abroad.
When asked if that rule will be implemented Tuesday as stated on its website, the State Department said this in a statement:
"The Department is pursuing approval of a new form as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act. The form has not yet been approved, and the Department will implement the new rule after that occurs. At this time, we can confirm that the Department will not be implementing on October 15.”
5. Other Challenges
Immigration advocates say they are expecting President Trump’s proclamation suspending entry for immigrants who cannot afford nor have health care to be challenged soon as well. It’s set to take effect November 3.