US judge blocks Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants

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A federal judge in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday put on hold a Trump administration rule requiring immigrants prove they will have health insurance or can pay for medical care before they can get visas.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon granted a preliminary injunction that prevents the rule from going into effect Sunday. It’s not clear when he will rule on the merits of the case.

Seven U.S. citizens and a nonprofit organization filed the federal lawsuit Wednesday contending the rule would block nearly two-thirds of all prospective legal immigrants.

The lawsuit also said the rule would greatly reduce or eliminate the number of immigrants who enter the United States with family sponsored visas.

“We’re very grateful that the court recognized the need to block the health care ban immediately,” says Justice Action Center senior litigator Esther Sung, who argued at Saturday’s hearing on behalf of the plaintiffs. “The ban would separate families and cut two-thirds of green-card-based immigration starting tonight, were the ban not stopped.”

The proclamation signed by President Donald Trump in early October applies to people seeking immigrant visas from abroad — not those in the U.S. already. It does not affect lawful permanent residents. It does not apply to asylum-seekers, refugees or children.

The proclamation says immigrants will be barred from entering the country unless they are to be covered by health insurance within 30 days of entering or have enough financial resources to pay for any medical costs.

The rule is the Trump administration’s latest effort to limit immigrant access to public programs while trying to move the country away from a family based immigration system to a merit-based system.

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