NY AG James asks Supreme Court to temporarily halt public charge rule

New York wants the Supreme Court to temporarily halt a Trump administration rule that seeks to prevent immigrants from getting public benefits.
The coronavirus pandemic put a pause on jobs for Eddie Chicaiza's painting business. The Cortlandt Manor man is a green card holder and despite having legal permanent status, he is not seeking any public benefits like Medicaid or food stamps for fear it could impact his chances of becoming a citizen.
His fears stem from the Trump administration's public charge rule that went into effect in February, which allows the government to deny green cards and visas to undocumented immigrants who receive public benefits like Medicaid or food stamps.

"The whole public benefits issue in the public charge is really just an anti-immigrant trope," says Karin Anderson Ponzer, with Neighbors Link.

Ponzer says the rule is especially detrimental to the immigrant community during the coronavirus, deterring some from seeking coronavirus treatment and testing.

"It frightens people and disincentivizes them from getting the help they need," she says.

The state attorney general agrees and is leading a coalition of Northeast states asking the Supreme Court Monday to temporarily halt the rule, saying, "Every person who doesn’t get the health coverage they need today risks infecting another person with the coronavirus tomorrow."

The government has said it would not consider testing, treatment or preventative care for the coronavirus when deciding public charge for a green card, but advocates say the statement isn't enough to convince immigrants there wont be consequences for getting the help they need.
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