New York state attorney general announces suit to fight expanded definition of 'public charge'

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As the Trump administration moves forward with plans to expand the definition of "public charge," officials in New York state, New York City, Connecticut and Vermont are working to keep the definition as-is.

The New York state attorney general has announced a lawsuit in an attempt to fight the change, which is set to take effect on Oct. 15.

Currently, immigration officials may consider an individual a public charge if that individual uses government services like food stamps or Medicaid. The expanded definition would allow officials to deny green cards to immigrants who rely on government assistance programs.

"The new rule broadens the definition of a public charge, increasing the number of non-citizens who may be found inadmissible, denied a green card or denied a visa on public charge grounds," NYC Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter said in a recent statement.

Some immigration advocates say the new rule amounts to intimidation.

"I think it is an effort to create a lot of fear in the immigrant community," said Executive Director of Neighbors Link Carola Bracco. "People are already puling out of programs and pulling their children out of programs even though those are programs that they are fully entitled to as US citizens."

She added she's proud of New York state "for standing up for the immigrant community" and "understand[ing] that this is a community that is our workforce."

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