NY Attorney General To Fight For Caribbean Immigrants In Lower Court

    (CMC)—New York Attorney General Letitia James says that she will lead a coalition of three states and New York City in asking the US District Court for the Southern District of New York to halt implementation of the Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule against Caribbean and other immigrants.

    According to James, this decision was taken after the Supreme Court ruled on Friday not to act in the matter itself but urged the plaintiffs to take it back to the lower court.

    Last week, James and the coalition filed a motion with the US Supreme Court, the country’s highest court, asking the court to revisit the question of interim relief on public charge “in light of the new and devastating effects that the rule has had on the nation’s public health and economy as the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across New York and the rest of the nation”.

    Said James: “The Supreme Court’s order allows us to continue the fight to halt the Public Charge Rule during the current public health crisis, and gives us the opportunity to make our case in a federal court in New York.”

    “We will soon file an emergency motion in the Southern District of New York, because our country cannot afford to wait. The Public Charge Rule threatens the public’s health, our economy, and all New Yorkers — citizens and non-citizens alike.

    “Every person who doesn’t get the health coverage they need today risks infecting another person with the [novel] coronavirus tomorrow,” James continued.

    She said the Public Charge Rule drives Caribbean and other immigrants and their families away from accessing health and nutritional benefits, to which they are entitled, by threatening applicants’ eligibility for green cards and visa renewals.

    In January, the US Supreme Court issued an order that was denied by the lower courts, allowing the rule to take effect while legal challenges to the rule are pending in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and through a possible petition to the Supreme Court.

    Last week, James led a coalition in asking the Supreme Court to take emergency measures to temporarily halt its earlier order on the Public Charge Rule until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

    James said that while the Supreme Court on Friday did not halt its own order, the court gave her and the coalition permission to take the request back to the district court.

    In October 2019, after James and the coalition filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, the district court issued an order that stopped the rule from going into effect during the litigation.

    The Trump Administration then filed a motion to stay the order, but the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied the request.

    The Administration finally filed a motion in the Supreme Court, which issued a stay of the district court’s preliminary injunction, pending the Second Circuit’s decision in the case and any subsequent petition to the Supreme Court to hear the case.

    Last August, days after the Trump Administration initially issued the Public Charge Rule, James and a coalition of states and New York City filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration rule, stating that “the rule specifically targets immigrants of colour, immigrants with disabilities, and low-income immigrants, while putting these communities at risk, and would have short- and long-term impacts on public health and the economy.”

    James said the attorneys general of Connecticut and Vermont, as well as corporation counsel for New York City, will join her in filing this new motion in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.