Federal Judge Blocks Trump's Health Insurance Requirements For Immigrants Seeking Visas


AP Local residents with visas walk across the Puerta Mexico international bridge to enter the U.S. in Matamoros Tamaulipas state Mexico

A federal judge in OR on Saturday temporarily blocked a Trump administration proclamation that would have required prospective immigrants to prove they would have USA health insurance within 30 days of their arrival OR enough money to pay for "reasonably foreseeable medical costs". The rule was scheduled to take effect on Sunday, but activists are always able to find a judge willing to block the president.

"VICTORY! A federal judge in Portland halted the Trump admin's latest attack on immigrants - a health care ban that would block 2/3 of all visa applicants", the group tweeted Sunday afternoon.

In addition to finding the thrust of the proclamation against the law, he also said the insurance standards the president set out are probably unworkable.

The Trump administration has justified its policy by arguing that legal immigrants are roughly three times as likely to be uninsured as American citizens, and that United States taxpayers should not have to cover their medical costs.

Seven US citizens and one non-governmental organization filed a lawsuit against this rule.

Esther Sung, a senior litigator for the Justice Action Center who argued on behalf of the plaintiffs, said the administration's rule would also separate immigrant families.

The lawsuit also claimed the rule would greatly reduce or eliminate the number of immigrants who enter the U.S. with family-sponsored visas.

"However, it would apply to the spouses and parents of US citizens and the immediate family members of lawful permanent residents", NPR reported last month.

The White House said in a statement at the time the proclamation was issued that too many non-citizens were taking advantage of the country's "generous public health programs", and said immigrants contribute to the problem of "uncompensated health care costs".

Would-be immigrants had been struggling to establish how to get the required insurance coverage. "It is wrong and unfair for a single district court judge to thwart the policies that the president determined would best protect the United States health care system-and for the US taxpayers to suffer the grave consequences of the enormous strain inflicted on the healthcare system from subsidizing uncompensated care for those seeking admission".

A study from George Washington University found that in 2017, uninsured new immigrants were less than one-tenth of the United States medical expenses of 1%.

The uninsured rate for immigrants dropped from 32% to 20% from 2013 to 2017, since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to Migration Policy.

"Countless thousands across the country can breathe a sigh of relief today because the court recognized the urgent and irreparable harm that would have been inflicted in the absence of a TRO", Jesse Bless, director of federal litigation at AILA, said.

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