Calif. Among States Seeking Injunction Against New ‘Public Charge’ Rule

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California and three other states asked a federal judge in San Francisco Tuesday for a preliminary injunction blocking a so-called "public charge" federal rule that would make it harder for low-income legal immigrants to remain in the United States.

A date for a hearing on the motion before U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton has not been announced.

The rule announced by the administration of President Donald Trump on Aug. 12 would require immigration officials to consider whether legal immigrants seeking visa extensions or permanent residency may be a "public charge" because they have obtained or are likely to obtain government aid for food, housing or health care. The rule is due to take effect on Oct. 15.

California, Maine, Pennsylvania, Oregon and the District of Columbia sued to challenge the rule on Aug. 16. San Francisco and Santa Clara County filed a similar lawsuit three days earlier.

Tuesday, Hamilton ordered that the states' lawsuit should be moved to her court to be handled together with the earlier lawsuit.

Both lawsuits claim the new rule violates the clear meaning of a federal immigration law, will deter legal immigrants from obtaining needed services, will increase the risk of contagious diseases and will impose a financial burden on state and local governments.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement Tuesday, "This punitive rule is a threat to the fabric of our communities and goes against our California values."

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