The attorneys general of Connecticut and New York have announced plans to sue the Trump administration to block its new “public charge” rule that would deny citizenship and permanent residency to low-income immigrants that rely on federal welfare benefits, including food stamps and government-subsidized housing.
The new rule was first proposed last October. The 60-day public comment period drew more than 260,000 responses, with the majority voicing strong opposition. A final version of the rule, which runs more than 800 pages, is scheduled for publication on Wednesday in the Federal Register and would go into effect in October.
In announcing the rule, Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, stated the change was designed to encourage a greater degree of self-reliance within immigrant communities.
“Through the public charge rule, President Trump’s administration is re-enforcing the ideals of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility ensuring immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful here in America,” Cuccinelli said during a press conference.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong followed Cuccinelli’s announcement with a statement that he would bring the administration to court.
“The Trump administration’s illegal and unconstitutional new scheme is a direct attack on access to the American dream,” Tong said. “This country was built by immigrants like my parents who worked themselves up from poverty. This rule is the latest chapter in this administration’s cruel and racist campaign to intimidate and punish immigrants of color. I am in close coordination with partner states and am prepared to take imminent legal action to block this unlawful and hurtful rule.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James also declared she was taking the administration to court.
“President Trump’s new public charge rule is yet one more example of his administration turning its back on people fighting to make a better life for them and their families,” she said. “Under this rule, children will go hungry; families will go without medical care. I am committed to defending all of New York’s communities, which is why I intend to sue the Trump administration over this egregious rule.”