CHN: Judge Blocks Trump Administration’s Onerous Health Coverage Mandate for Immigrants

A federal judge in Portland, Oregon has blocked a Trump Administration rule requiring immigrants to prove they will have health insurance or can pay for medical care before they can get visas and enter the United States.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Michael Simon came on Saturday, Nov. 2, just one day before the rule was to take effect. The temporary injunction issued by Simon lasts for 30 days, during which time the Trump Administration and those challenging the ruling are expected to file briefs arguing their case.

“We’re very grateful that the court recognized the need to block the healthcare ban immediately,” said Justice Action Center Senior Litigator Esther Sung, who argued at a hearing on Saturday 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.”

“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,” added Jesse Bless, director of federal litigation at the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The ban would apply 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 proposed rule states that immigrants would be barred from entering the U.S. 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 judge’s ruling comes on the heels of injunctions issued in five different U.S. district courts blocking the Trump Administration from implementing its “Public Charge” proposal, which would have denied visas or green cards to immigrants if they have used certain aid programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, or housing assistance. For more information on this issue, see the October 29 Human Needs Report.