Under the rules proposed by the Trump administration, any immigrant who receives public benefits, including Medicaid, food stamps, welfare or public housing vouchers, for more than 12 months within any three-year period will be considered a federal burden or "public charge".
Whereas Trump has targeted a lot of his consideration on unlawful immigration - together with his pledge to construct a wall on the Mexican border - he has additionally educated his sights on curbing authorized immigration by transferring away from a system that's largely primarily based on household ties.
Judge George B. Daniels of the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of NY said the rule, set to go into effect October 15, would have caused "irreparable harm". Titled "Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds", the rule sparked several legal challenges.
The Trump administration argues that the rule is only clarifying existing law, saying it believes immigrants who want to stay in the USA should be able to support themselves and not rely on government aid.
In California, US Judge Phyllis Hamilton found "the plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits, for numerous reasons".
In his ruling, Daniels said Trump was redefining immigration rules that had stood since the late 1800s with a new framework that had "no logic".
Judge Daniels was particularly dismayed by one of the new tests for English proficiency, which studies have shown is a good yardstick for someone's ability to succeed.
The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
He issued an injunction blocking the policy, which would have given the government the power to reject immigration applications from someone who was deemed to have used too many social safety net programs or otherwise was likely to end up on the public dole.
"The situation in the federal judiciary with respect to these nationwide injunctions, which have proliferated to an unprecedented degree, is intolerable".
"We lost on immigration?"
Critics have said the rule will disproportionately affect low-income immigrants of color and punish them for being poor. Noting that the government counted English proficiency in its calculation of the likelihood of becoming a public charge, Daniels wrote that "It is simply offensive to content that English proficiency is a valid predictor of self-sufficiency".
"Judge Daniels understands that to Donald Trump and Stephen Miller, the cruelty of their "public charge" rule is the point", said Heidi Hess, co-director of CREDO Action, a network of progressive activists.
Immigration advocates say the rule changes are discriminatory because they would deny legal residency and visas to immigrants who don't have money. Hundreds of thousands more could have been affected if they avoided public benefits because they feared it would disqualify them from obtaining legal status, according to immigration advocates. "It was never ever meant to limit or narrow the definition of 'public charge'". Under that new rule, asylum seekers must claim asylum in one of the first countries they enter.