The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday voted 2-1 to lift injunctions that blocked the Trump administration's rule aimed at limiting benefits such as food stamps and Medicaid received by immigrants in nine western states, but the policy still remains in effect in other places.
The preliminary injunctions had been issued by federal judges in Oakland, Calif., and Spokane, Wash., against the administration's "public charge" policy before it took effect in October, reports Politico.
However, the Justice Department is still appealing injunctions in New York City and Maryland, as the 9th Circuit does not have jurisdiction over them.
Two of the three judges in the 9th Circuit court ruled that the Trump administration would likely win arguments that it could issue regulations to broaden what constitutes someone who is likely to come to depend on public assistance.
“We find that the history of the use of ‘public charge’ in federal immigration law demonstrates that ‘public charge’ does not have a fixed, unambiguous meaning,” Judge Jay Bybee wrote in the ruling, which Judge Sandra Ikuta joined. “Rather, the phrase is subject to multiple interpretations, it, in fact, has been interpreted differently, and the Executive Branch has been afforded the discretion to interpret it.”
“Whether the change in policy results from changing circumstances or a change in administrations, the wisdom of the policy is not a question we can review,” said Bybee. He and Ikuta were both appointed by former President George W. Bush.
Bybee also wrote a five-page addition slamming Congress years of inaction on immigration, saying he is "perplexed and perplexed" that such cases are coming through the courts and called on a "feckless Congress" to grapple with the issues.
Judge John Owens, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, said he would have denied the stay and let the injunctions remain pending a more thorough review.
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